Indentifying and Protecting Wildlife Corridors

Posts tagged ‘Black Bears’


Video: animals of Sandia Mountain

Here is a new video we’re making available via YouTube to show some of wildlife that need to move to and from Sandia Moutain.

Help protect this area as a wildlife corridor, its already there!

Send your comments before April 16th to: to inform the Wildlife Corridors Act, which is seeking public comments for a State wildlife corridor action plan.

Protect the Crest of Montezuma wildlife corridor!

The light green shaded area is the safest path for wildlife to and from Sandia Mtn.

Supporting Wildlife

Supporting wildlife is like saying you support rain clouds in the desert. Yes, I support rain clouds coming over and giving us rainfall, I support water, and sunlight. I support green, green grass and clover. I support rivers full of water, skies full of sun and clouds and color, and I support the forest full of trees.  I support the wind blowing gently, especially the cool, wet breezes of summer. I support the snow burying  the mountains in winter.  Again, the water, yes I support that.  I support birds flying by, and birds landing and making nests. I support all the animals, and especially the ones that begin with the letter “B”.  Like Bats and Bears, Beavers and Bobcats, Bees and Butterflies.  I support the Moon and the Stars, the Planets too, and Sun in Sky and the light that reaches Earth. I support the fog that fills the valleys on a winter day, and pine needles that collect under the pine trees. I support holes and other burrows in the ground, and sound of rain on a metal roof. 

Sandia Bear hair study mis-reported by Journal

The article last Monday in the ABQ Journal confused the number of years this study has been going, giving this data more credit than it currently deserves.  This is the first year of the study in the Sandia Mts., while it has been going for three years in other mountain ranges of NM. The article stated that this the third year in the Sandias as well, but that just isn’t true.  I’ve been participating in this study, along with 9 other groups/agencies, and the data is just now coming in for our first year (2014).

This is important because for Game and Fish to increase the bear hunt in the Sandia Mts. based on one year’s worth of data is just wrong.

Read the Journal article here: Bear-kill boost upsets critics | Albuquerque Journal News.

DNA used to better determine bear population

Read today’s Journal article here:

Hair, DNA used to better determine bear population | Albuquerque Journal News.

on an on-going Black Bear population survey taking place in the Sandia Mts. this summer.

Pathways is participating in this survey, setting and monitoring hair snares in two sections on the north end of Sandia Mt. Volunteers who have been trained in this protocol go out every 2 weeks to check the snares for bear fur, gather and record it, then move the snare to a new location.

Knowing more about the animals who live here will help human beings deepen their relationship with and respect for the other species who have grown with, evolved with,
and shaped this land.

Black Bear

LAST EXIT: Wildlife dies by the thousands on NM’s highways

Read this timely article by Laura Paskus here:

LAST EXIT: Wildlife dies by the thousands on NM’s highways.

Wildlife warning signs

Thanks Laura for bringing this issue to light in the Reporter; as people become aware of the dangers to wildlife in these “pinch points”, we have a chance to change history for the better, for animals and ourselves.




Black Bear foraging study

This study comes out of Missoula, Montana, but is applicable here in NM as well.  Read the full report here: ASM Online Journals – Food availability and foraging near human developments by black bears.

The upshot is, if you’ve got fruit trees, you have one of the most reliable attractants for bringing bears to your yard, even more so than garbage cans, this study found.  Surprisingly, even with wild foods nearby or in village yards, the bears still preferred to eat the fruit and other tender greens being grown domestically.  Black Bears are so much like people, which makes their behavior predictable, but still challenging to live with.

With a good soil moisture base coming into the winter, and now with sporadic snows in Dec. and Feb., there may be some good set of wild foods for bears this year.

NewsDaily: APNewsBreak: Western governors show wildlife maps

Read an article here : NewsDaily: APNewsBreak: Western governors show wildlife maps. about the Western Governor’s Association rollout of the wildlife mapping that has been underway for the past 3 years.

Pathways has not contributed to this effort directly, it was too broad scale and general of project.  The really fine scale, on the ground, site specific type of research and monitoring that we’re interested in has not been funded on the state-wide scale that really needs to be done.  Even a broad state-wide survey of “crucial” wildlife corridors and linkages for our large mammal species like Rocky Mountain Elk, Mule Deer, Mountain Lions, and Black Bears, has not been funded, even though the laws are in place to do so, through RETA :New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority.  Funny how the “Authority” didn’t make it from the acronym into the title.

In thinking about how this is a benefit to wildlife, on the one hand, it may seem to be pandering to industry, giving ammunition to those who would destroy, disrupt, fragment, and exploit life to make money while providing some service or “product” to humanity.  On the other hand it may seem like a way to bring those very industries to a closer understanding of how they can “produce” without harming the very people they intend to “service”..  (because lets face it, industry has never cared about wildlife, unless forced to, or unless it makes good P.R.  And humans care about humans first, right?).  So are the maps a benefit to wildlife?  In my opinion, having data is good, having a data platform is good, having a data platform that the public can plug into is even better. Like · Pathways

Does massive amounts of data do any good?  I think it does when its connected to a massive brain, which can make massively intelligent decisions, with compassion for all the diversity of life.  Are we there yet?  I don’t think so.  Are we on our way?  We better be.

June 2013 edition of the “Green Fire Times”

Link here:

June 2013.

to read the June edition of the “Green Fire Times” online. The whole issue is dedicated to wildlife connectivity with the land in the state of NM, and the cover is pretty nice too!

The last of Sandia Mountain’s Black Bears?

This letter to the NM Dept. of Game and Fish from Jan Hayes of Sandia Mt. BearWatch is a wake up call to us all ~ Black Bears need help now!


Every day I’m asked the question, where are the bears this year?  And my answer to that question is “they’re gone….sadly… gone for good.”


In the last two years the New Mexico Game and Fish (NMG&F) along with a few others have killed or removed approximately 45+ bears out of an estimated Sandia bear population of 50+.


Sandia’s bears have faced many destructive forces: Mother Nature produced a series of drought years with the final blow of a harsh late frost in the spring of 2011 that killed most natural food sources; a growing, irresponsible human population that moved into these bears’ territory and wanted them removed for getting into their available garbage and bird feeders; an organization that campaigned for killing all bears and cougars from our wildlife areas (especially the Sandias) on behalf of their children and the final fatal assault, a Game and Fish department that considered black bear to be nothing but a nuisance species.


In 2010 and 2011, there were huge public outcries along with multiple newspaper articles and editorials statewide against the New Mexico Game and Fish’s proposed 108% increased bear hunts.  Those requests for common-sense management of this species were ignored.


Most people believe that a state game department is there to protect our wildlife.  In New Mexico, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  A real eye-opener would be for you to attend a Game and Fish Commission meeting’s greed fest. Money and politics are the driving forces with conservation coming in last, if at all. Meeting after meeting, professional outfitters and hunters are fighting/suing each other for more licenses to kill more wildlife. In 20 years of attending these meetings, I’ve rarely heard any hunters, ranchers, etc. ask for conservation for a species. Ranchers are there to demand more licenses for resell for wildlife that sometime forage on their ranches, farmers are there to ask for compensation for crop damage, trappers are there to ask for unlimited access to our state and federal lands, anti-wildlife city kooks are there to demand the decimation of bears and cougars.  And the New Mexico Game and Fish Department are more than happy to comply…after all, this is their constituency.


The destruction of Sandia’s bears is just the tip of the iceberg.  In 2011, 744 bears were killed statewide. This is more than double the average of the preceding five years. If the NMG&F’s statewide bear elimination pogrom goes forward as planned with a limit of 664 bears this year and 628 per year to be killed for the next four years, a five year total of 3,176 bears will be killed or over half of the NMG&F’s inflated estimate of the entire bear population. This doesn’t include rampant poaching, natural die-off and the NMG&F’s new policy to vastly expand depredation.


A serious concern is that the NMG&F continues to raise the female-sow hunt limit.  To ensure a stable bear population, sound bear biology tells us that no more than 30% of a reasonable yearly kill should include sows.  The NMG&F claims that although 44% of kills can be sows, hunters are being selective and only 31% of kills were sows in the bear hunt last year which is still too many considering that was the percentage of a huge harvest.


If the largest bear hunts in New Mexico’s history go forward as planned, in a few short years the bear population will necessarily plummet. Hunters will have difficulty finding bears to kill and that means that hunters will no longer be selective which will result in a devastating sow kill-off.


Sows are the future, and the NMG&F’s ongoing unsound management will be responsible for destroying that future. If you don’t believe that can happen here, look to Utah and Arizona that now have some bear-free mountain ranges.


(note, the Journal Editor deleted this paragraph)The NMG&F’s reckless management of New Mexico’s black bears is biologically unsustainable and incredibly shortsighted. Instead of the NMG&F instituting a program to educate mountain residents how to co-exist with bears, pushing for mandatory bear-proof garbage receptacles for all bear-country communities, issuing tickets to irresponsible residents…the NMG&F uses ‘killing’ as their modus operandi.


Governor Martinez has full control over the New Mexico Game and Fish and what happens to our state’s wildlife including this state’s mammal, the black bear.


A Journal editorial on August 7, 2010 asked the question of who will hold the Game and Fish accountable for the decimation of New Mexico’s bears, warning that it could result in an ecological and social disaster. My question to Governor Martinez is… who will answer for this biological disaster…should she allow it to continue?


Jan Hayes

Sandia Mountain BearWatch