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New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Rachel Shockley, (505) 476-8071; cell: (505) 470-6832
Public contact:  (505) 476-8000
rachel.shockley@state.nm.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, AUG. 12, 2013:

BEAR-TRAP SABOTEUR ENDANGERING NEIGHBORS IN SANDIA HEIGHTS

bear trap saboteurALBUQUERQUE – A dangerous bear that broke into a house and bit the homeowner remains on the loose today in the Sandia Heights neighborhood east of Albuquerque, partly because someone sabotaged a Department of Game and Fish trap intended to catch the bear.

The Department has video of someone deliberately sabotaging a baited bear trap set at the home of the man who was bitten by the bear early Friday morning. The person who sabotaged the trap has put area residents in danger and could face charges if apprehended. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Department at (505) 222-4700.

The Department needs to catch the offending bear to prevent anyone else from being injured by it. The state Department of Health also requires that any wild animal that bites a human to be killed and tested for rabies.

Friday’s incident in Sandia Heights is another example of abnormal and dangerous bear behavior caused by habituation to humans as a food source. Many bears in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains have become accustomed to finding easy meals in residents’ trash, birdfeeders and pet food dishes. Some homeowners also have been known to intentionally feed bears, falsely believing that the bears have no natural food available. Supplemental feeding of bears leads to unnatural and dangerous behavior, and often leads to the bear’s death.

The Department reminds everyone who lives in bear country that bears are wild animals and can be dangerous, especially when they lose their fear of humans or associate humans with food. If you see a bear, leave it alone and it usually will go away. If you have a dangerous encounter with a bear or believe a bear to be dangerous, call 911 or your nearest Department of Game and Fish area office. The Department office in Albuquerque can be reached at (505) 222-4700.

The Department encourages anyone with information about violations of New Mexico’s wildlife laws to call Operation Game Thief toll-free, (800) 432-GAME (4263), or to visit www.wildlife.state.nm.us. Callers can remain anonymous and may earn rewards if information leads to charges being filed.

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