Sandoval Signpost


An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988

Dave Harper

If you lose or find an animal in Placitas area, call the Animal Hotline at 867-6135. The Hotline is a nonprofit service run by Dave and January Harper to help reunite lost and found pets. Placing a Lost or Found in the Animal Hotline is a free service courtesy of the Signpost—we can sometimes even include a photo. Call Dave and January at 867-6135 or 263-2266 and leave a detailed message, or email the Animal Hotline at: (but call, too).


DOG: Male, brown with black down the back, and is blind in one eye. Five-year-old Hound "Cooper" is very friendly, has two collars, and is not neutered. Lost on May 11, just west of the Village of Placitas, south of Highway 165.  #4036 (See photo below)

“If you see me, call the Animal Hotline!”


DOG: Red Heeler with collar on Highway 165 near The Merc Grocery in Placitas, NM.  #4035


Animal News


Lalo’s pet prints:

Lalo loves to receive your pet and animal photos to print in the Signpost.
Email them to “Lalo” at:
Or mail prints to: Signpost, P. O. Box 889 Placitas, NM 87043

Baby woodpecker on my birdbath.
—Todd Rennecker, Placitas

Woof Woof, Lalo: First time I’ve ever seen this and we’ve had that bird bath in Placitas 12 years. Bird Fountain? uh, BULL Fountain!
—Michael Sare, Placitas

Battling White-Nose Syndrome in bats in New Mexico

~Heidi Andersen, BLM-OR/WA, U.S. Forest Service—Region 6 Interagency Aquatic & Riparian Monitoring Program

Hibernating bats in the Western U.S. are at risk from White-nose Syndrome (WNS), a fungal infection that is nearly one hundred percent fatal to infected individuals and can devastate bat colonies. BLM New Mexico is working with multiple partners under authority of the 1988 Federal Cave Protection Act to protect bats in approximately five hundred caves on public lands the agency manages from becoming infected. 

A review of science available in technical reports and peer-reviewed journals showed that currently there are no practical treatments for hibernation sites or infected bats. However, the studies did indicate that temporary closures of caves have helped curtail WNS outbreaks. The Cave Protection Act authorizes such restrictions to protect cave resources, including animal and plant life. 

BLM New Mexico began an outreach and planning effort to explore the idea of temporarily closing caves with significant bat roosts while developing longer-term management measures to protect against WNS. The effort was supported by BLM national bat conservation guidance developed in collaboration with more than 115 partners, and an Interagency WNS Response Plan for New Mexico produced by 13 agencies and organizations with expertise, and interest, in bat conservation. Management options supported by science were presented at public meetings, in environmental assessments, and on the BLM website. 

Following extensive public involvement, BLM New Mexico temporarily closed 28 of the five hundred documented caves to recreational use for a two-year period. Researchers used this time to further study bat colonies in the caves and to collect data on habitat conditions. They determined that two of the closed caves were not biologically important hibernacula (winter habitat for bats), and that temperatures and humidity in nine of the caves were not conducive to the WNS fungus growing and persisting. 

After the temporary closures expired, BLM New Mexico began managing 26 caves as Special Use Areas, where a Special Recreation Permit (SRP) is required for entry and use. BLM New Mexico has permitted more than 1,150 entries since the restrictions, mostly at Fort Stanton Cave, the largest cave under BLM management and part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands. SRPs have been issued for WNS surveillance, monitoring, and research; other cave management activities; and search and rescue when necessary. Permitted use is carefully tracked, and all permittees are required to use decontamination protocols when entering and exiting the caves to ensure that they do not spread the WNS fungus. 

Further science is ongoing. Winter monitoring facilitates updating of the Interagency WNS Response Plan for New Mexico, and the BLM supports research by the University of New Mexico and others on various potential biocontrol agents to counteract WNS. Researchers, resource managers, and cavers continue collaborating to find treatments for hibernation sites and infected animals, and to determine the best management actions for conservation.

Pronghorn antelope

Trophy poachers face stiffer fines, increased jail time

~Karl Moffatt, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

Trophy poachers who kill bighorn sheep, ibex, oryx, Barbary sheep, elk, deer, or pronghorn antelope without a license, or out of season—just for the head or horns—face increased fines and jail times if convicted.

Gov. Susana Martinez has signed legislation that elevates the crime of wasting game from a misdemeanor to a felony, which upon conviction carries a maximum prison sentence of 18 months and a fine of $5,000. Convicted felons also no longer would be able to hunt with a firearm. As a felony, the statute of limitations on wasted game cases increases from two to five years. Out-of-state suspects in such cases also could face extradition under the new law.

“Over the last five years, I have worked closely with the department on this important legislation,” said Representative Alonzo Baldonado. “Our state’s conservation officers now have the added strength of this law to better protect New Mexico’s valuable wildlife resource for all citizens of New Mexico.”

The department also recognizes the invaluable support of Gov. Martinez, the State Game Commission and the many organizations and individuals that helped strengthen the state poaching law.

“We are pleased this bill was signed into law,” said commission chairman Paul Kienzle. “Conserving New Mexico’s wildlife is our top priority and with these enhanced penalties our game wardens will have the tools needed to provide a greater level of protection.”

Game wardens with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish investigate up to one hundred trophy poaching cases a year in which only the head or horns are removed and the rest the animal is left to rot. Hunters are required by law to utilize edible portions meat from harvested game animals.

To report a poaching incident or other wildlife crime, call the Department of Game and Fish toll-free Operation Game Thief hotline, 1-800-432-4263. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for rewards if charges are filed.

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