Gary Miles, of Placitas Animal Rescue (left), gives
Sandoval County commissioner Jack Thomas a tour of a mobile spay-neuter
clinic that has been operating in New Mexico.
The Spay-Neuter Assistance Program, owner of the
truck, announced it would cease operating in the state at the end
of September, and Miles is looking for a way to purchase the $140,000
clinic or an older truck, offered for sale at $70,000.
The county recently chipped in $1,600 to bring
the reduced-fee clinic to Placitas, where 117 cats and dogs and
one rabbit underwent the procedure. Miles said he has been collecting
private donations, including $10,000 from an anonymous donor, and
hopes some way can be found for the county to participate.
The county has yet to respond officially, and
SNAP officials could not be reached for comment, as they evacuated
their Houston office with the approach of Hurricane Rita.
bighorns find new homes in Arizona
Thirty-two Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep have
new homes in Arizona following a successful and speedy trapping
and relocation project August 18 in the Pecos Wilderness.
The one-day trapping operation was accomplished
in record time. Similar efforts have taken three days or even longer
to net or dart sheep at elevations of around twelve thousand feet
and transport them by helicopter to staging areas below. The operation
involved about forty workers from Game and Fish departments in New
Mexico and Arizona, and the U.S. Forest Service.
The captured sheep were traded to Arizona for
an equal number of desert bighorn sheep.
“It's really a win-win situation for everyone,”
bighorn-sheep biologist Elise Goldstein said. “Arizona needs
more Rocky Mountain bighorns and we need to thin out our herds;
and Arizona can provide us with more desert bighorns, which we need
to build up our herds.”
Goldstein said the Pecos bighorn herd is estimated
at 275 to three hundred animals and was outgrowing its range. Statewide,
there are approximately 850 to 930 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep
and about 230 to 250 desert bighorn sheep in New Mexico, she said.
Because of the operation's record speed, the
project cost was substantially less than the anticipated $60,000.
The project was funded through federal excise taxes on hunting and
angling equipment, with a 25 percent match through a raffle and
an auction of two bighorn sheep permits donated by the state Game
Commission to the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep.
Rare albino turkey vulture spotted at Heron
Lake State Park
Bird lovers from all over the country are sure to be enraptured,
as one of the most unusual raptors in the world has been spotted
at Heron Lake State Park, in northwestern New Mexico. State Parks
officials say the unusual albino turkey vulture was seen flying
in the air near the surrounding Rio Chama River Valley two weeks
ago, and has adopted the park as its temporary residence ever since.
Although Heron Lake is known to attract vultures around fall, this
is the first time an albino turkey vulture has migrated into the
“It's not only exciting that the vulture has chosen our
park to roost, but as a bird-watcher, I'm thrilled to see an anomaly
like this—it looks almost otherworldly,” said Heron
Lake Park ranger Siscily Lederman.
There have only been two albino turkey vultures documented in
the country, both of which are currently in captivity. The birds
are white, and have no pigmentation in their eyes and feathers but
appear to have pink coloring around their eyes.
Consequently, they often have difficulty seeing, as their eyes
can become damaged from overexposure to the sun.
State Parks officials expect the big bird's stay to be brief,
since it's typical for most migratory vultures to leave the park
around the middle of October.
Despite an often unfavorable reputation, these carrion-eaters
play a valuable role in the environment, since they feed off carcasses
that can be breeding grounds for disease. They locate their food
both by scent and by sight.
For more information, contact Heron Lake State Park, at (505)
588-7470 or www.nmparks.com.