SANTA FE – Due to drought conditions throughout the state, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is urging residents to be aware of the increased chances of encountering bears and other wildlife.
“The state has experienced less than average precipitation for this time of the year, which means that bears may be in search of other food sources”, said Rick Winslow, bear and cougar biologist with the Department. “Droughts historically have led to a lot of bear conflict, not only at camping and picnic sites, but also in more populated areas.”
“For bears, almost all of their food resources, such as green grasses and forbs — flowering and grass-like plants — are sustained by moisture,” Winslow said. When these food sources are stressed, bears may start moving closer to towns and neighborhoods. Bears that move into populated areas can cause problems and may become habituated to humans. Problem bears that are deemed a threat may be euthanized.
The Department offers the following suggestions if you visit, or live in, bear country:
- Keep trash properly contained until the day of pickup, especially if you reside in, or close to, wooded areas.
- Never leave fruit from trees and bushes to rot on the ground. It can be a powerful attractant to bears and other wildlife.
- Remove bird feeders. Bears see them as high calorie treats, and often they will look for additional food sources nearby.
- Never put meat or sweet-smelling food scraps, such as melon, in your compost pile.
- Don’t leave pet food or food dishes outdoors at night.
- Clean and store outdoor grills after use. Bears can smell sweet barbecue sauce and grease for miles.
- Keep your camp clean, and store food and garbage properly at all times. Use bear-proof containers when available. If not, suspend food, toiletries, coolers and garbage from a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and 6 feet out from the tree trunk.
- Keep your tent and sleeping bag free of all food smells. Store the clothes you wore while cooking or eating with your food.
- Sleep a good distance from your cooking area or food storage site. A distance of at least 100 yards is recommended.
Never intentionally feed bears to attract them for viewing.
If you encounter a bear:
- Make yourself appear large by holding out your jacket. If you have small children, pick them up so they don’t run.
- Give the bear plenty of room to escape, so it doesn’t feel threatened or trapped. If a black bear attacks you, fight back using anything at your disposal, such as rocks, sticks, binoculars or even your bare hands. Aim for the bear’s nose and eyes.
- If the bear has not seen you, stay calm and slowly move away, making noise so the bear knows you are there. Never get between a mother bear and her cubs.
If you are experiencing a persistent problem with bears, please contact your regional Game & Fish office or contact your local law enforcement for immediate assistance. Visit the Department’s website to find contact information for local Department offices. For more information about living with bears in New Mexico, please consult Keeping Bears Alive and Yourself Safe.
As of June 7 – 8, 2022:
Number of tests performed on June 8, 2022: 35
Number of “Positive” results on June 8, 2022: 9
Number of “Negative” results on June 8, 2022: 26
Active Cases on June 8, 2022: 23
Direct Contacts: 0
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
The Violence Against Women Program (VAWA) sponsored a community walk to commemorate the month of Missing and Murdered indigenous Women (MMIW). This event was held on May 27, 2022 and some of the highlights included the community walk which had a starting point at Head Springs and ended at the Chiricahua Plaza, a DJ, and a speaker, the Violence Against Women Program Domestic Violence Counselor, Ms. Lucy Rodriguez who provided disturbing statistics on the many missing, murdered and sexual assault crimes against women and children. Each participant also received a MMIW tee-shirt and a gift bag with a few program incentives as well as important information on MMIW. Fresh fruit and boxed lunches were also provided for each attendee.
A special thanks goes out to all who helped make this day not only possible, but also memorable. Our special donors included the Boys and Girls Club, Youth Development, Gaming Department, and Four Direction. We are truly grateful to all of you for your generous contributions to another successful event.
Road Runner Food Bank
Thursday, June 2, 2022 at 12:30 p.m.
Activity Hall parking lot – Drive thru distribution
This summer we will have the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) group EcoServants assisting with cleaning up brush and vegetation around homes occupied by our elderly and handicapped. Starting with a list of names that DRMP staff got from the Elderly Center, this week we will have staff going around, knocking on doors to let people know we will have young adults from EcoServants that will assist with cutting and removing brushy vegetation that can create fuel ladders within the Home Ignition Zone.
The Home Ignition Zone is an area 100 feet around the home, starting from the home foundation and including vegetation and structures like decks, fences and outbuildings. “The majority of homes that have been lost to wildfire are first ignited by embers and small flames. By reducing the susceptibility of the area immediately around [your] home and the home itself, the chances of a home surviving an ember storm or small spot fire are greatly increased. Work in the Home Ignition Zone is also called creating defensible space.” To learn more about the Home Ignition Zone, and how you can protect your home, please click on this link: Home Ignition Zone – Wildfire Risk to Communities. There are videos that show how an ember fire can start and what you can do to reduce your risk.
EcoServants will be working here on the Reservation starting today and going through the end of July. We will have DRMP staff knocking on doors of elderly and handicapped residents to see if they would like work done around their house to reduce chances of ignition during a wildfire. The EcoServants Crew will be in white vans and white trucks. They will be wearing green, brown and grey t-shirts with YCC and EcoServants on their shirts. This is a pic of our EcoServants Crew this year.
If you have any questions, call DRMP at 575-464-4711.
Community Clean-Up Week will officially start on June 6th and end June 10th. Let’s all encourage each other to make our community clean!