Santa Fe New Mexican Reports on Bobcat Event

Bobcat © David C. Jones

April 6 - Out for a hike with her dogs one day in a rural part of the state, Mary Katherine Ray almost became a statistic. She stumbled upon a leg-hold trap that easily could have snared her or her two animal companions.

Since that 2004 hike, Ray has been on a crusade to ban or curtail the use of the traps that indiscriminately catch anyone or anything in their path: birds, coyotes, dogs or even people.

“I kicked the trap shut,” Ray said. “I found that I couldn’t open it myself. I was in a remote area, hours from anyone, and I found it unbelievable that someone could do something like that to me.”

The traps are illegal on public lands in Arizona and throughout Colorado and several other states, including California, Washington, Florida, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. But New Mexico continues to allow the practice. Traps are permitted within 25 yards of a trail or road and just a quarter-mile from a park or campsite.

The Sierra Club, WildEarth Guardians and Animal Protection of New Mexico have been pushing for the state to reform its trapping laws since 2006. The groups may have a chance of having their voices heard. The state Game Commission has agreed to review state trapping rules at the end of the year. The state Game and Fish Department is accepting comments at nmdepart.ofgameandfish@state.nm.us.

WildEarth Guardians and the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club, of which Ray is volunteer wildlife chairwoman, have been working to promote awareness about the traps around the state. On Wednesday, the groups held a Bobcat Palooza at the Santa Fe Public Library.

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