Wily puma leads
Estancia merry chase
The whole town of Estancia turned out when a cougar paid a
surprise visit last Thursday [August 3]. The first 911 call
came at 1:10 p.m. from potter Alma Wimsatt, who found the
young male mountain lion on her back porch boxing with his
reflection in the window.
Her first thought was that he might be her new neighbor’s
pet, but pulling the curtain aside disabused her of that notion.
“That’s no dog!” she exclaimed and yelled
through the glass, “Get out of here.” He was nonchalant,
she said, and showed no fear in addition to ignoring her command.
Wimsatt called 911 to report her intruder. “Dispatch
didn’t believe me at first, I don’t think,”
Wimsatt said. When she returned to her back door, he was gone.
Where he went was up and down all the byways of the town,
artfully eluding the 50 or so townspeople seeking him out
plus the fire department, police department, animal control
and numerous other officials. The wily puma went to ground
upon the arrival of a news helicopter and sirens.
State fish and game officer Gabe Chavez quickly took charge
of the hunt and rescue operation, which lasted over two hours.
Law enforcement was armed with semi-automatic weapons, just
in case the animal decided to fight his way out of the blockade.But
mostly it was like an undeclared holiday for a citizen posse,
ranging in age upward from a year old, that surrounded six
square blocks. Few displayed any more concern about the situation
than the cougar had at Wimsatt’s back door. Salvador
Gonzalez, one of the few who recognized the threat the lion
might pose, stood on the roof of his mobile home and spotted
the cat hiding under his house.The cougar moved to the back
porch of the home at 10th and Williams, where Chavez finally
cornered him and got off a shot of his tranquilizer gun. The
cat fell unconscious only five blocks from the first sighting.
“It’s not an uncommon occurrence for young males
to range out of the mountains looking for a territory of their
own,” said Chavez. The mother kicks them out and then
they are driven from their home territory by the dominant
male, he explained.The Estancia tourist was a healthy juvenile
who still sported a few of his fading baby spots. After caging
and stabilizing the animal, Chavez escorted the cougar to
his new home to the mountains east of Grants.
Reprinted from The Independent, August 2-August 8, 2006
Dr. Kim Hammel, DVM, and Angela Cherry, vet tech, assist a
Thomas’s Canine Cottage
Earl’s Catnap Inn
Rain slows WMR construction
—SOPHIA DICLEMENTE, WATERMELON MOUNTAIN RANCH
The recent rains created havoc for the animals, personnel,
volunteers, and our builders alike. The arroyos constantly
overflowed and washed out Progress Boulevard each and every
time it rained, making access a real challenge. The dedicated
family at Watermelon Mountain Ranch Animal Center parked and
walked in and out every day. To say that it has been a terrible
strain is an understatement and our sincerest thanks go out
to everyone who endured incredible hardships to help us during
this very difficult time. Thank you, one and all!
The building at the ranch is somewhat behind schedule, as
the trucks could not get in for several weeks. However, Earl’s
Catnap Inn—in loving memory of Earl Bohrer—is
nearing completion, as is Thomas’s Canine Cottage.
Thanks to the students at Cottonwood Montessori School,
who donated the much needed funds to build our veterinary
quarantine building, which is completed and will be dedicated
in the next few weeks.
WMRAC is pleased to welcome Dr. Kim Conkling-Hammel, who
is in charge of our spay and neuter programs at the ranch.
Since opening in August, we have sterilized almost two hundred
rescued Sandoval County animals. This total includes all of
the animals at Rio Rancho Animal Control, which are now sterilized
at the ranch prior to going into their new homes. By aggressive
spay/neuter programs, we hope to significantly reduce our
animal population. Our goal: no more homeless animals and
a no-kill county.
Zoo, aquarium, botanic garden seek volunteers
The Albuquerque BioPark’s Rio Grande Zoo, Albuquerque
Aquarium, and Rio Grande Botanic Garden are looking for adult
volunteers to teach about wildlife, plants, and marine animals.
No science or teaching experience is required. For additional
information or a complete job description, call BioPark Education,
at 505 764-6245.
The BioPark offers opportunities for people with interests
in animals and their habitats, fish and the oceans, and the
world of plants. Volunteer teachers lead tours, teach about
plants and animals on exhibit, travel to schools in Albuquerque
and around New Mexico, and provide other exciting, hands-on
education activities for BioPark visitors. All information
necessary to be a volunteer teacher will be taught.
The BioPark is an accessible facility and a division of
the City of Albuquerque’s Cultural Services Department.
Combo admission to the BioPark is $12 for ages 13-64, $5 for
ages 65+, $5 for ages 3-12; children two years old and younger
are admitted free. For assistance in visiting, please call
505 768-2000 or 311 (NM Voice/Relay or 711), preferably with
three days advance notice. Visit www.cabq.gov/biopark
for more information about the facilities and programs.
The Albuquerque Biological Park is accredited by the Association
of Zoos and Aquariums. Look for the AZA logo whenever you
visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting
a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals,
a great experience for you and a better future for all living
things. With more than two hundred accredited members, AZA
is a leader in global wildlife conservation and your link
to helping animals in their native habitats.