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

Wolf news, good and bad

Wolf news, good and bad
Mexican wolves, the most imperiled canine species in the world, have made progress in the last three months but have also suffered setbacks. In May, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that a record 20 pups were cross-fostered from ... Read More

Tell U.S. Fish and Wildlife to fix its plan for wolf recovery

Tell U.S. Fish and Wildlife to fix its plan for wolf recovery
In 2015, a federal court ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to rewrite its recovery plan for endangered Mexican gray wolves because the existing plan was inadequate to ensure wolf survival.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife is taking public comment ... Read More

Press: A wildlife emergency is brewing at the border

Press: A wildlife emergency is brewing at the border
Scientists estimate the wall’s construction will impact hundreds to thousands of species of animals ... Read More

New Game Commission, old allegiances

Photo of a brown bear cub for the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter website.
Hopes were high when Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed a new Game Commission after eight years of wildlife policies that so often dismissed science and contradicted conservation, especially for carnivorous animals. While some welcome changes are on offer, the new ... Read More