On February 23, the Silver City, NM town council unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the state to ban steel-jaw leghold traps, strangling snares and other painful body-gripping traps on public lands. According to New Mexico resident Walter “Ski” Szymanski, who drafted and proposed the legislation and created a website that promotes banning cruel traps on public lands (www.nocrueltrapsonpubliclands.info/), companion animals have been maimed and/or killed in leghold and other traps in the region which includes the Gila National Forest and Ft. Bayard Game Refuge.
There are at least two Mexican gray wolves, victims of leghold traps, walking around on three legs apiece in New Mexico, Szymanski says based on information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The wolves were discovered caught in leghold traps and needed their legs amputated before being returned to the wild. These wolves, protected under the Endangered Species Act, were part of the Blue Range Reintroduction Project to return them to the Southwest.
The resolution is a “public, political and moral stand that the town has taken,” Szymanski explained, adding that he and others are working to enroll other towns in the cause. Silver City Mayor James R. Marshall sent the resolution to Congressman Harry Teague, D-NM, urging him to support the Refuge from Cruel Trapping Act, H.R. 3710, noting that five out of seven New Mexico wildlife refuges fall within Teague’s district.