Three bills have been introduced this year into the New Mexico state legislature that bring hope for mountain lions and other native wildlife. Send a message to your New Mexico State Representative and Senators urging them to support SB 286, SB 266 and SB 286! You'll find a link to our Action Alert at the bottom of this article.
SB 286 would ban the use of lethal body-gripping traps and poisons on public lands. Known as the New Mexico Wildlife Protection and Public Safety Act, SB 286 would protect mountain lions, coyotes, bears, bobcats, non-target wildlife, pets and humans from life-threatening body-gripping traps and poisons while living and recreating on New Mexico's public lands.
SB 266 would clarify the mission and purpose of the State Game Commission and provide valuable contributions to the way wildlife is managed in New Mexico. This bill would give the Commission the authority to protect all species of wildlife, including protected game species, fur-bearers and non-game species.
SB 268 would prohibit coyote killing contests, making it illegal to organize, sponsor, hold or participate in these indiscriminate wildlife killing events. This bill would end wasteful and inhumane mass killing of coyotes and other wildlife for fun, cash prizes, guns and hunting 'toys' in the state of New Mexico. Read the media release here.
Senate Bill 286
This bill would ban the use of lethal body-gripping traps and poisons that are currently being used on New Mexico's public lands with little oversight. Many non-target wildlife and pets suffer and die in traps every year on land where the public hikes, plays and recreates. Traps can be hidden and totally undetected. Even humans can encounter body-gripping traps, usually in the unbearable moments after a beloved pet has stepped in to one. It is unknown how many dogs are trapped annually as 'by-catch.' Since trappers in New Mexico are not required to tell anyone if they trap a dog there is no way of knowing how many fall victim to traps or poison.
The fur-bearers that trappers are aiming for - mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats and foxes - contribute essential services to ecosystems for rodent, rabbit and other prey population controls, while trappers simply create mayhem and upheaval in the social structures of the wildlife they kill. The indiscriminate and cruel nature of trapping means that moms can be trapped, who suffer as they leave behind cubs, pups or kittens who will likely die of starvation or exposure. A few trappers should not dictate cruel, unnecessary and outdated public policy.
Senate Bill 266
This bill would give the State Game Commission authority to protect all wildlife, including protected game species, fur-bearers and non-game species. This would expand existing policy to be a more adequate and flexible system for the protections of New Mexico's diverse wildlife. Currently, the Game Commission has authority to regulate only about 20% of the state's mammals, not enough to provide significant protections for mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats and other important predators.
Wildlife viewing is a significant economic asset to the state and brings in over $320 million annually. And SB 266 is not a mandate, it simply gives authority to the Game Commission to act for wildlife protection, so the fiscal impact may not be as great. New Mexico is an incredibly biologically diverse state, and is the home of the endangered Mexican wolf among other endangered species. All species deserve this increased opportunity for legal protection.
Senate Bill 268
This bill would end indiscriminate, wasteful and inhumane killing of coyotes and other wildlife for fun, cash prizes, guns and other 'toys' in the state of New Mexico. Coyote-killing contests encourage baiting, luring and 'calling' where electronic coyote calls mimic the sound of animals in distress. People who participate in coyote killing contests are misguided in thinking that the mass killing of coyotes is a way to: 1) manage wildlife to prevent overpopulation; 2) protect livestock; and 3) increase game animal populations.
Sound science has shown that in fact, mass killings of coyotes upset the social balance of these highly family-oriented animals and actually cause more problems and conflict. Coyotes are self-regulating, meaning that in a stable pack structure only the alpha male and female reproduce based on available resources and what the pack can sustain. More pups are produced when alphas are killed because the social structure of a pack is destroyed, leaving the younger coyotes to carry on as best they can. And many dependent pups whose parents are killed during these contests are left to die a cruel death through starvation and exposure. There are many hunters who agree that mass killing contests have nothing to do with fair chase or ethical hunting and in fact, are destructive to wildlife and to the environment.
You can sign the Mountain Lion Foundation's Action Alert in support of these three bills here!