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

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

Doña Ana caves to federal agency on trapping

Doña Ana caves to federal agency on trapping
By Mary Katherine Ray Two county commissions have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Southern New Mexico. The Doña Ana County Commission voted in April to prohibit using the county’s federal range-improvement funds to pay the federal agency ... Read More

Thursday in Santa Fe: NM considers trapping changes

Thursday in Santa Fe: NM considers trapping changes
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is proposing changes to state trapping rules that are inadequate to protect people and wildlife. Please attend the 8/22/19 meeting of the New Mexico Game Commission in Santa Fe and share your view in a two-minute ... Read More

Wildlife Services – Doña Ana County

Wildlife Services – Doña Ana County
On April 23, 2019 the Doña Ana County commission passed a resolution to cease using county funds for lethal predator and rodent control. But two months later, the commission repealed the resolution after pressure. There is still time to stop this backslide ... Read More