Animal conservationists are worried that hundreds of Gunnison's prairie dogs relocated from the city of Santa Fe to the El Malpais National Conservation Area in west-central New Mexico could become targets for shooters.
The nonprofit environmental group WildEarth Guardians is asking the Bureau of Land Management to consider restrictions on recreational shooting in the prairie dog relocation spot.
Recreational shooters haven't aimed at the prairie dogs yet partly because the spot is remote. BLM deputy state director Bill Merhege tells the Santa Fe new Mexican that the agency met with WildEarth Guardians last and will be looking at what it can do to ensure the animals don't become a target.
El Malpais National Conservation Area contains nearly 230,000 acres of rugged, rocky land near Grants.