Conservation groups are hosting a public forum in Albuquerque Wednesday to discuss trapping of fur-bearing animals on New Mexico public lands. The state Game Commission in July lifted a ban on trapping in southwestern parts of the state where the endangered Mexican grey wolf has been reintroduced.
Animal advocates say public input, including 12,000 letters from citizens who oppose trapping, was ignored by the Commission. The groups are calling for an end to trapping on public land. Phil Carter with Animal Protection of New Mexico says ending trapping is also a public safety issue. "Any animal with legs that touch the ground can get caught in a trap," Carter says, "so that includes dogs, cats, people, as well as endangered species like the Mexican wolf."
A recent government report found 13 Mexican grey wolves had been caught in non-government traps since the species was reintroduced in New Mexico and Arizona in 1998. Two died. There are only 60 Mexican grey wolves living in the wild.
According to reports, trappers say the practice has become more humane over the years and that it's culturally important in New Mexico.