There’s great news for trappers in New Mexico today. The New Mexico State Game Commission unanimously voted to overturn a ban placed on trapping in the Gray Wolf Recovery Area by Governor Bill Richardson last year.
We reported on the trapping ban a year ago, and noted that a study was underway to determine whether trapping in New Mexico had an impact on the wolf population. While that study has been completed, results have not yet been released to the public. The New Mexico Game and Fish Department had the chance to review the study, and Game and Fish officials recommended that the trapping ban be lifted, presumably based on those results.
Trappers shouldn’t be surprised to see the ban lifted as a result of the study, considering that trapping is used to safely catch and transport wolves in recovery efforts throughout North America. However, we’re all used to regulation decisions being based on politics. This time around, both the science and politics were in favor of trappers in New Mexico. A new governor, elected during the 2010 political swing, had a different view on the trapping issue than did Gov. Richardson.
The animal rights groups are up in arms about the decision, which they had hoped would go the other way, and provide momentum for a statewide trapping ban in New Mexico. Even the AP article by Susan Bryan seemed to be very biased toward animal rights groups. She referred to the animal rights extremist groups as the “conservationists”. Anyone with experience in trapping and wildlife management knows that trappers and wildlife biologists are the real conservationists, as they work to maintain wildlife populations in a healthy balance with humans and nature. A more fitting term to describe the opponents of the decision would be “activists”.
Trappers and wildlife managers have won a victory this time around, and the threat to legal trapping in New Mexico will have to wait.