New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Ross Morgan, (505) 222-4707
ross.morgan@state.nm.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, DATE: JULY 6, 2011

DISPLACED LOS ALAMOS RESIDENTS ENCOUNTER DISPLACED BEARS
YOUNG WILDLIFE – EVEN NEAR WILDFIRES -- USUALLY DON’T NEED TO BE RESCUED

DISPLACED LOS ALAMOS RESIDENTS ENCOUNTER DISPLACED BEARS

LOS ALAMOS – The Las Conchas fire displaced the residents of Los Alamos, and now that they’re returning home from a forced evacuation they are encountering a number of displaced bears.

The Department of Game and Fish and the Los Alamos Police Department have agreed to distribute Living With Large Predator brochures to residents of Los Alamos who are reporting the influx of animals to the community. The highly mobile nature of black bears is making it impossible to determine how many bears are in town at this time.

“The natural food supply in the Las Conchas Fire area has been reduced by this fire, and the bears are on the move looking for food,” said Shawn Carrell, Cuba District Wildlife Officer for the Department of Game and Fish.  As often happens with or without forest fires, bears turn to eating trash and garbage when natural foods are not available.

“We are asking the residents to remove anything that may attract bears like bird feeders, outdoor pet food, and trash,” Carrell said.  “This will encourage these bears to move on and locate themselves back in the forest away from town.”

Only one bear has been euthanized due to injuries experienced in the Las Conchas Fire, the Department reported Tuesday. It was an average-sized female found off State Route 4 near the Valles Caldera, not far from where the state’s largest blaze started.

For more detailed information on how to keep bears alive and you safe, please visit the Department of Game and Fish website at www.widlife.state.nm.us and click on the publications tab in the top-left corner of the page.  If you have any questions regarding this or any other Department issue, please contact the Albuquerque office at (505) 222-4700.

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YOUNG WILDLIFE – EVEN NEAR WILDFIRES -- USUALLY DON’T NEED TO BE RESCUED

Wildlife across New Mexico may have become stressed or displaced because of wildfires, but although animals may appear to be lost or abandoned, that does not always mean they need to be rescued.

The Department of Game and Fish is urging people not to pick up deer fawns, elk calves, bear cubs or other wild animals that may appear to be injured or abandoned. Usually, the wild mothers are nearby and will return for their young shortly. Removing the young animals – even with the best intentions – decreases their chances of survival.

“It may seem like the right thing to do, but you’re not ‘rescuing’ a young animal when you take it from its mother,” said Chris Neary, the Department’s Northeast Area Chief in Raton. “In almost all cases, the best thing to do is just leave it alone and quietly leave the area.”

People who pick up wild animals also risk picking up diseases and parasites such as fleas and ticks the animals may be carrying.

It’s very difficult to successfully return wild animals – especially bears -- to their natural environment once they have been closely associated with humans. Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators can legally care for injured or abused wildlife in New Mexico. Rehabilitators statewide have reported an increase in animals brought to them this summer, many related to wildfires.

The Department encourages people to report wild animals that are injured or could be considered safety threats. Reports can be made at offices in Santa Fe, (505) 476-8000; Albuquerque, (505) 222-4700; Raton, (575) 445-2311; Las Cruces, (575) 532-2100; or Roswell, (575) 624-6135.

For more information about how to keep wildlife alive and you safe, please visit www.wildlife.state.nm.us and click on the “publications” tab in the top-left corner of the page.

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Tune in to New Mexico Game and Fish TV:
“New Mexico Wildlife”       6:30 a.m. Saturdays on KASA Channel 2, Albuquerque
                                          6:30 p.m. Sundays on KENW, Portales
                                          7:30 p.m. Thursdays on KRWG, Las Cruces

 

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