Forest officials plan to round up cattle that have been roaming freely for years in the Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico.
The Wilderness Ranger District announced its impoundment order this week. It stems from reports of cattle roaming along the Gila River near Turkey Creek, Johnson Canyon and Miller Springs.
Forest officials say the cattle are leftover from a 2006 impoundment effort.
District Ranger Ray Torres says the roundup will help with grazing management. He says stray livestock can often be found roaming in sensitive riparian areas or places occupied by threatened or endangered species.
Once the livestock is gathered, the forest will work with state livestock inspectors to identify the owner, if possible.
If an owner cannot be identified, unclaimed animals are typically turned over to the state Livestock Board for disposal.