What We Are Doing to Protect Wildlife

From the smallest beetle to the largest elk, wildlife belongs to everyone. Some species are protected completely, which means they may not be killed for sport or food. These include raptors like eagles and owls and migratory birds like robins, warblers and hummingbirds. Endangered species such as Mexican wolves and black­footed ferrets are managed by the federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The state agency, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is entrusted to make sure that hunters do not kill too many game animals.

The Sierra Club finds much that needs to change regarding carnivores. Endangered wolves are struggling in our state. Some segments of the livestock industry that placed them in peril to begin with still reject recovery. And now some in the hunting community object to the competition with native carnivores for their common prey of elk or deer. New Mexico is allowing large carnivores like bears and cougars to be hunted to the extreme. Mid­size carnivores like bobcats, foxes, badgers and ringtails can be killed without limit in brutal leg­hold traps and snares for no other reason than to profit from their pelts. Coyotes have no protections at all and are used as living targets in thrill­ killing contests.

Field population studies for these species are scant, but when they do exist, often they are ignored to ensure the maximum number of these animals are killed. These practices not only make no biological sense, they ignore that carnivores are important to the integrity of wild places. Persecuting them is contrary to the land ethic about which Aldo Leopold spoke. Many of these practices also are repugnant and unethical.

In securing better protections for carnivores large and small, we bring New Mexico into the 21st century and ensure that public trust obligations by federal and state agencies are met for all and not just narrow special interests. Wild places need carnivores to continue to be vibrant and resilient in the face of habitat loss, drought and human encroachment.

How You Can Take Action to Protect Wildlife

There are many ways that you can get involved to help protect wildlife:

Join our Wildlife Team

We rally, write letters to the editor, advocate at Game Commission meetings and the Legislature and much more to protect New Mexico and West Texas wildlife. Contact Mary Katherine Ray at mkrscrim@gmail.com.

Visit our Act on the Issues Page here to act on urgent wildlife issues.

Photo credit: New Mexico black bear, taken August 2010 at Cerro Montoya, from Sevilleta LTER.

Wildlife news

Photo of bear for article on in Sierra Club Rio Grande website on Game Commission rule changes for carnivores

Preventive action reduces bear encounters

Most of us live in an urban-wildland interface so it's no longer possible for bears to have their own habitat and humans to have ours. We have to take the right steps to reduce human/bear interactions.  ...
photo of wolf

NM backs weak federal wolf plan

The NM Game Commission is considering a weakened lobo recovery plan and will announce their decision in November ...

Wildlife photography: Cherish what we have

Being in nature with a camera enriches the experience. You will find yourself looking for the bird making that noise, and once you take his picture, you'll have a record to help find out just what bird it was, then ...
Sierra Club Fall Talk – Wednesday, September 6

Sierra Club Fall Talk – Wednesday, September 6

You’re invited to a fall series of presentations & discussions related to our Northern New Mexico Group priority environmental issues. September: Wildlife Wednesday, September 6, 6-8 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Church Fellowship Hall
107 W. Barcelona Road, Santa Fe Our speakers will ...
Wolf plan a path to extinction

Wolf plan a path to extinction

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was required last year by court order to produce a new wolf-recovery plan to update the one that has been in place since 1982. The new draft was released to the public on June ...
Trapping, killing contests still legal in New Mexico

Trapping, killing contests still legal in New Mexico

By Mary Katherine Ray, 
Rio Grande Chapter Wildlife Chair Bills to prohibit trapping on public land, end killing contests, reform the Game Commission and more did not pass the New Mexico Legislature in a session distracted by other issues ...