The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Dave Harper (right) and friendAnimal Hotline is a nonprofit service to help reunite lost and found pets with their people.
P. O. Box 100, Placitas, NM 87043

If you find or lose an animal in Placitas or the surrounding area, call Dave Harper at the Animal Hotline. Placing a lost or found notice in the Hotline is a free service.


CAT: Black female, spayed, about five years old. Lost from southeast of the Village of Placitas, near the eight-mile marker on Highway 165. Lost Thanksgiving eve. #2015

CAT: Black male cat lost from Anasazi Trails area of western Placitas area on December 14. Six months old, jet-black cat named Tiki. #2024

DOG: Female Chihuahua cross, light brown with long hair, lost from about three miles north of the village of Placitas (off Camino de las Huertas) on December 17. Only about twelve weeks old. #2020

DOG: White male toy poodle went missing from the village of Placitas on December 19 during the snowstorm. Wearing blue collar with rabies tag. Call 867-3462 or 440-4592 with any information. #2019

DOG: Husky puppy, four to six months old, mostly grey, black, and white, male. Lost from Placitas Homesteads on December 23. Very friendly. One blue eye, one brown eye. #2025


DOG: Small female Mexican hairless dog found next to the Placitas Community Center late November-early December. #2012

CAT: Grey cat spotted running around near the eight-mile marker, east of Highway 165, south of the village of Placitas in mid-December. #2016

DOG: Red-and-tan male pit bull found December 17 near Highway 165 about a mile southeast of the village of Placitas. Very skinny. Was running with a German shepherd who took off. #2021

HORSE: Small male horse, white, brown and black, found at I-25 at Algodones on December 7. #2026


DOG: Big shaggy black-and-white dog seen running loose in Placitas West area the first week of December. #2017

CAT: Yellow-and-white shorthaired cat seen on Tierra Madre Road (near the Homesteads Village shopping center) on December 6. #2013

DOG: Young spotted rottweiler wandering around in Sundance Mesa subdivision, in western Placitas, near Alexi Drive and Second Mesa December 19. #2018

Animal News

Four Bolson tortoises

Four Bolson tortoises, once a hair away from extinction, are slowly “coming out of their shells” at their new residence at Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park, in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Endangered Bolson tortoises take up residence in Carlsbad

Four Bolson tortoises, once a hair away from extinction, are slowly “coming out of their shells” as they grow accustomed to their new residence at Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

The four tortoises (two males and two females) came to the park in October 2006 through a cooperative agreement with media mogul Ted Turner's Turner Endangered Species Fund. The fund aims to conserve biodiversity by protecting endangered species and their habitat.

“Education and conservation are cornerstones for Living Desert,” said Ken Britt, park superintendent. “The Bolson-tortoise-conservation project will be an important addition to the our interpretation program, which reaches visitors of all ages.”

“Living Desert plays a significant role in ensuring that the population of the Bolson species is protected through education and captive breeding; working alongside Living Desert is definitely an advantage to the species,” said Mike Phillips, executive director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund. “The road to recovery will be long and hard, but Living Desert has helped shore up efforts to ensure that the protection and security of the species is secure.”

Phillips said that the Turner Fund anticipates future involvement from other zoological institutions resulting from public awareness through zoos like Living Desert, which is currently the only zoo in the country that houses a captive population of pure Bolson tortoises.

The Turner Endangered Species Fund acquired the Bolson tortoises through heirs of Ariel Appleton, an Arizona rancher who raised and researched tortoises for over twenty-five years. The two tortoise pairs at Living Desert were among twenty-eight tortoises that came from a captive population at the Appleton ranch. Tortoises are also protected and housed in outdoor enclosures for protection at the Armendariz Ranch and the Ladder Ranch, both near T or C.

The Bolson tortoise was first placed on the federal endangered-species list in 1979. David Morafka, a researcher at California State University, had raised an alarm in the late 1960s after assessing the Bolson tortoise population and discovering that the tortoises were being hunted for food in the Mexican area of Bolson de Mapimi. In 1976, the Mexican government vowed to protect the tortoise habitat and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added the tortoise to the endangered-species list three years later.

“We are proud to play a leading role in saving an endangered species,” said Dave Simon, director of New Mexico State Parks. “One of New Mexico's most famous residents, Aldo Leopold, once said that 'the first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all of the parts. Extinction is forever, but it doesn't have to happen if mankind cares enough.”

Protection of the tortoises and subsequent eggs at Living Desert is expected to boost the overall population.

The Bolson Tortoise is the largest of four North American tortoise species, growing up to eighteen inches long. Unlike most tortoises, the Bolson species only lays between twelve and fifteen eggs at a time, with only an estimated 3 percent survival rate for the eggs.

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park will have a contest to name one of the tortoise pairs. The other pair came to the park as “Mr. and Mrs. Belaroux.”

Frank Walker, a Living Desert wildlife culturist, worked for the Turner Fund prior to joining New Mexico State Parks, and he introduced the park to the Turner Fund. Holly Payne, Living Desert's general curator, will be in charge of managing a Bolson-tortoise-population database that includes genetic information and breeding history on tortoises both at the park and in the Appleton tortoise population.

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums , Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park actively participates in species conservation and is dedicated to the plants and animals of the Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem. The Bolson-tortoise-conservation partnership complements the zoo's involvement in the Species Survival Plan for the Mexican Wolf, another federally endangered species.

For more information, contact Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park at (505) 887-5516 or For information on the Turner Endangered Species Fund, log onto

Wildlife babies—leave them alone!

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish receives numerous calls each year from concerned individuals who find what they think are orphaned or abandoned wildlife young. Some of these people pick up the animals and take them to local veterinarians, zoos, or their local Department of Game and Fish offices. While these individuals have no intention of harming the young animals, people need to realize that picking up the babies greatly decreases their chances of survival.

Deer, antelope, and elk all leave their young alone while they move off to forage for food and water. The young are normally left in areas that provide good cover and relative safety. The fawn or calf may be left alone for several hours or more, depending on cover, distance to food and water, and other factors including human presence. The mothers will return to their young when they feel that it is safe to do so. It’s not uncommon for people to find fawns or calves lying hidden in the grass or brush, especially during the spring and summer months.

If you find a young fawn or calf, leave it alone, don’t touch it, and by all means don’t pick it up. Leave the general area, and eventually Mom will return. The only exception to picking up a fawn or calf is if they happen to be found in the middle of a road or other areas where they have a higher chance of being injured or killed. In these instances, carefully move the animal out of harm’s way and then leave it alone.

Another problem concerns young birds, especially raptors or birds of prey. Numerous young hawks, kites, and owls are turned in at department offices throughout the state every year. Most of the time these young birds have ventured out of the nest or are learning to fly and often end up on the ground during the learning process.

nce again, the best thing to do is leave them alone. In cases where the young birds are in immediate danger from cats or dogs, the best thing to do is place them back into the nest tree. If placing them back into the tree is not an option, place them in a box with shredded newspaper and contact your local conservation officer or Department of Game and Fish office.

Wildlife rehabilitation centers and local zoos can’t handle many extra animals. Many of these young animals that are picked up and turned in have to be hand-raised, which usually means that they can never be returned to the wild.

Another mistake people make when picking up fawns or calves is feeding them regular cow’s milk, which lacks the necessary nutrients needed by these young animals. Many of the animals fed regular milk develop “scours,” which can lead to dehydration and death, even if the fawn or calf makes it to a wildlife rehab center or zoo.

The best thing that you can do if you find wildlife that you think is orphaned or abandoned is to contact your local conservation officer or Game Department Office. Furthermore, it is unlawful to pick up game animals or any protected species, of any age, without a proper permit or documentation from the Department of Game and Fish.






Ad Rates  Back Issues  Contact Us  Front Page   Up Front  Animal News   Around Town   Business   Classifieds   Calendar  Community Bits  Community Center  Community Profile  Eco-Beat  Featured Artist  The Gauntlet  Community Links  Night Skies  My Wife and Times  Sandoval Arts   Schoolbag  Time Off