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End Public Lands Trapping in New Mexico
A Brief Overview
Trapping is a cruel and dangerous activity that threatens native wildlife populations, your pets and even you.
New Mexico Department Game and Fish (NMDGF) imposes no limits on how many animals can be killed by licensed trappers. In addition to their intended targets, traps have injured countless pets, and several people. In New Mexico traps can be legally placed as little as 25 yards from a hiking trail or public road, and ¼ mile from a dwelling It’s time for New Mexico to join other states such as Arizona, Colorado, California, and Washington that have already banned trapping on public lands.
Threat to Wildlife
NMDGF does not require that trappers report unprotected and non-target wildlife that inadvertently gets caught in traps such as coatimundis, porcupines, or peoples pets. New Mexico has conducted few population studies on the fur bearing species it allows to be trapped. Additionally, trapping kills or so-called harvest counts are woefully underreported. No one knows how many furbearers existed in the past or live in the present. Resident trappers pay NMDGF a mere $20 for an annual license.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife watchers spend $297 million annually in New Mexico. In a 2004 study, NMDGF estimates trapping netted the state economy only $671,000 that year. A 2005 poll conducted by Research and Polling, Inc. found that 63% of New Mexican voters regardless of party affiliation support a ban on leg-hold, snare and lethal traps on public lands. In the summer of 2011, New Mexicans generated over 12,000 comments to the Department of Game and Fish that requested a trap ban on public lands. Yet, the New Mexico Game Commission ignored this appeal. On July 21 it expanded trapping across New Mexico, and even lifted the trapping closure in the range of the imperiled Mexican wolf.
Trapping is seriously threatening wildlife populations and continues to be common practice despite a lack of public support. Isn’t it time to end trapping on public lands in New Mexico?
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