raid cockfight, make arrests under new law
Otero County Sheriff’s Department and the Attorney
General’s Animal Cruelty Task Force, with assistance
from Animal Protection of New Mexico and The Humane Society
of the United States, raided the Otero Game Club’s “Christmas
Derby” cockfighting event today.
Several people attending the cockfighting event fled just
before law enforcement agents arrived at the scene. Law enforcement
agencies arrested four individuals. It is estimated that more
than one hundred birds were relinquished from two properties
On Wednesday, the New Mexico Fifth Judicial District Court
upheld a ban on cockfighting in the state, after the New Mexico
Gamefowl Breeders Association had questioned the constitutionality
of the ban. According to New Mexico law, the first and second
cockfighting convictions are misdemeanors, and the third conviction
is a felony.
“Cockfighting is an utterly cruel activity and it has
no place in New Mexico or anywhere else,” said John
Goodwin, manager of The HSUS’ animal cruelty and fighting
campaign, who was on-scene Saturday.
Multiple law enforcement and animal control agencies, including
those from Doña Ana County and the City of Albuquerque,
• Tens of thousands of people are involved in cockfighting
• Law enforcement raids across the country have revealed
that cockfights, which are frequently attended by children,
often involve gambling and, as a result of the large amounts
of cash present, firearms and other weapons.
• Law enforcement officials have documented a strong
connection between cockfighting and the distribution of illegal
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest
animal protection organization—backed by ten million
Americans, or one of every thirty. For more than a half-century,
the HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals
through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating
animals and confronting cruelty— on the Web at www.humanesociety.org.
Bolson Tortoise hatchling
Excellent breeding success for endangered Bolson Tortoises
Less than a year after four endangered Bolson tortoises were
brought to Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park in Carlsbad,
New Mexico, eighteen eggs have hatched. The hatchlings range
in weight from 30 to 38 grams (less than a pound), and are
the results of 19 eggs laid within two laying periods, three
weeks apart. This group of hatchlings is beginning to feed
on native grasses and carrots. Once established and fully
adapted to solid food, the hatchlings will be available for
“This is an exciting time at Living Desert; to have
breeding success like this in our first season with these
endangered tortoises is very rewarding for us and our partners
at the Turner Endangered Species Fund,” said Park Superintendent
Ken Britt. “We encourage people to come and see these
special animals and learn about this important conservation
“We are excited to be collaborating with Living Desert,
which has been a top-notch partner in this process,”
said Joe Truett, Senior Biologist with Turner Endangered Species
Fund who coordinated efforts with New Mexico State Parks.
“Of course we are also thrilled about the new hatchlings
at both Living Desert and the Ladder Ranch.”
Like Living Desert, the tortoises are also protected and
housed in outdoor enclosures for protection at the Ladder
Ranch, near Hillsboro and the Armendariz ranch near T or C.
Truett says that, with the exception of the Armendariz ranch
which is waiting for 15 eggs to incubate naturally outdoors,
the tortoise hatchlings were incubated in a carefully controlled
environment. The egg incubator mimics the conditions required
for birds or reptiles to hatch their eggs, taking into consideration
humidity, temperature and the number of times the eggs are
According to the Turner Fund, hatching the tortoises in an
incubator has seemed to be more successful than hatching in
the outdoors since the eggs are protected from elements including
changing temperatures, depth changes, soil content and predators.
The incubation period for most Bolson Tortoises is 75 to 85
days. Generally, female Bolson Tortoises can lay between two
to 15 eggs at a time, with only an estimated 3 percent survival
rate for the eggs.
The parents of the hatchlings—two male and two female
Bolson tortoises—were originally introduced to Living
Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park in October 2006 through
a cooperative agreement and conservation program with media
mogul Ted Turner’s “Turner Endangered Species
Fund.” The Fund aims to conserve biodiversity by protecting
endangered species and their habitat.
The growing family of tortoises is the only genetically pure
Bolson’s on exhibit in an AZA Accredited Zoo in the
country. The tortoise, native to the Chihuahuan Desert in
Mexico, is listed as an internationally endangered species
and is the largest tortoise of North America. The species
was first placed on the federal endangered species list in
1979 after it was discovered that they were being hunted for
food in the Mexican area of Bolson de Mapimi.
An additional population of breeding pairs is located on
Ted Turner’s Armendaris Ranch in Sierra County, New
Mexico. The conservation effort includes breeding programs,
natural history research at both locations as well as an education
program centered at the zoo. Through this cooperative conservation
effort it is hoped to educate zoo visitors about the species
and eventually see the Bolson Tortoise population increase
in the wild.
Living Desert plans to keep the tortoise hatchlings at the
park for at least a year, and then release them to the Armendaris
Ranch who will eventually relocate them back into the wild.
Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA),
Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park actively participates
in species conservation and is dedicated to the plants and
animals of Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem. The Bolson Tortoise
conservation partnership compliments 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 www.nmparks.com. For information
on the Turner Endangered Species Fund, log onto http://tesf.org/turner/tesf/.