Bill 586 is moving fast. Please act quickly and tell the New Mexico Legislatures to VOTE NO!
Since last November’s elections there has been an unprecedented backlash against large carnivores and other predators in many western states. We find this to be incongruous. It is inconsistent with current best science from which is emerging a very convincing picture of the important and contributory place of predators on the landscape.
Why then is this happening? We can only guess, but the one thing we do know for sure is that the people who unfailingly ‘show up’ are the ones who influence the decisions. That is why we urge you to take notice of Bill 586
Please submit your comments and if at all possible attend the hearings at the Capitol in Santa Fe NM at 1.30pm March 9th
New Mexico’s wildlife is facing a very hard time in the House. SB 253 attempting to ban what can only be called despicable wildlife killing contests was tabled by committee when it reached the House. The Bill that will be heard this Monday March 9th will remove games species status from mountain lions and relegate them to be treated in the same sad and gratuitous manner as coyotes, skunks and other non-protected fur bearers.
New Mexico can do better than this and your help is needed to show how….
Please contact members of the Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee and tell them why they must reject Bill 586. Consider using some or all of the talking points found below the form.
[contact-form-7 id=”3931″ title=”New Mexico advocacy form”]
An email will be sent to the members of the New Mexico Regulatory and Public Affairs Committee from your default email server. The Committee will hear the Bill this Monday March 9th. Here is the link to the hearing if you would like to watch:
Here are some talking points to help you:
Predators and prey evolved together over millennia. They each exhibit adaptations attributable to the presence of the other. Ungulates and other prey animals developed the speed, sight and hearing (those big ears aren’t for nothing!) to give them warning and the opportunity to outrun whoever might be stalking them. Without predators ungulates would degrade habitat and spread disease among themselves far more rapidly. The misinformation that ungulate herds show long term benefit from high pressure on predators has been unsupported by several now famous studies.
(Life-History Characteristics of Mule Deer: Effects of Nutrition in a Variable Environment KEVIN L. MONTEITH et al).
(Demographic response of mule deer to experimental reduction of coyotes and mountain lions. Mark Hurley).
More and more evidence is being collected and analyzed to indicate the ecological benefit of cougars and other large carnivores. The simplicity of the food web shows that removal of one of the components, especially if that component is an apex predator, leads to over abundance of prey species. This fact alone should be of greater concern to New Mexico’s livestock growers since drought, and less than optimal grazing
opportunities mean that they are constantly competing with ungulates as they seek to feed their domestic herds and protect their livelihoods. The cougar’s habitat of choice is cover and riparian areas, which makes it a positive contributor to the health of rivers that are at risk for erosion by overgrazing. Vegetation is lost and there is a consequent impact on songbirds and fish as bank-loving trees recede and water temperatures rise from lack of shade.
Extremely high mortality of cougars increases depredation and decreases the age structure
Dr. Robert Wielgus continues to provide evidence from long term studies that removal of dominant animals results in greater immigration of less experienced dispersers. In what has become known as ‘chaos’ immature animals often resort to depredation as a means of survival once the intrinsic hierarchy of a cougar population has been altered by extensive and indiscriminate hunting. Relegating cougars to the status of un-protected fur bearers in New Mexico would be the epitome of extensive and unregulated hunting.
(Effects of Remedial Sport Hunting on Cougar Complaints and Livestock Depredations Peebles, Wielgus et al 2013)
Cultural and philosophical considerations
Mountain lions reproduce every couple of years after reaching sexual maturity. It is imperative that the kittens are with their mother for at least a year and ideally up to two years. This ensures their ability to hunt natural prey and to avoid human development and livestock. Since females are either pregnant or have dependent kittens for almost 75% of their lives we can assume that many of females killed leave behind orphaned young. This is unacceptable to managers, sportsman and the general public and is not tolerated for any other game animal.
Furthermore, the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation became necessary because of the lack of regulation and consequent extirpation and near-extinction of many species. HB 586, if approved, would be a sign of regression to before the Model which managers and hunters cite with great confidence. The Public Trust Doctrine imposes the responsibility for states to manage wildlife in the interests of all the people.
The real solution to public safety and public interests is prevention. Education about conflict prevention and
appropriate surgical removal of target animals is far superior to the false security suggested by random culling (sport hunting or non-protected status).
Please take into account the following criteria when hearing HB 586
- What is the justification? Is there a need?
- What is the objective?
- What will the consequences of HB 586 be for ALL stakeholders and constituents?
- What published, peer reviewed, scientific documentation is being presented by the sponsor in support of HB586?
- How will the committee’s decision affect the enhanced diversity of New Mexico?
Many thanks for considering these talking points as you engage in the privilege of democratic participation. Please remember that it is only the decision makers that have the ability to create change, for better or for worse. We may not always agree with public servants and department employees but we encourage politeness and respect in all communications.
The Cougar Fund