Cover, June 15: “Cornered”
Focus on the Science
I want to thank Elizabeth Miller for the excellent article. It is as “fair and balanced” as I have read in a long time.
Working with Defenders of Wildlife since the mid-2000s on Mexican wolf issues here in NM, I have heard lots of terrible things about wolves, the vast majority from ranchers in the southern part of our state. I was an associate director of the Smithsonian National Zoo from 1996 to 2003 and have heard it all. (The zoo raised the first pair of wolves to be released in southwest NM.)
So many negative arguments based on perceptions, not reality and hard science, are presented about Mexican wolves. We need to focus on the science to make the right decisions for the future preservation of these special members of our ecosystem.
Sad to say, as you point out, it is all about money and water. The same for other threatened and endangered species. But if a miracle solution, a compromise that both sides can agree to, does not come to the forefront soon, we may lose the Mexican wolf forever. And forever is a long time.
Nancy E Johnson
Vegan is the Way to Go
There is an easier way to help Mexican wolves win this seemingly never-ending battle over public lands, and that is to switch to a vegan diet. Nature never intended for cattle to roam in New Mexico, and one cow requires at least 50 acres of high desert to forage for food.
By choosing not to support animal agriculture, vast acres of New Mexico could heal itself and flourish into habitat that supports all wildlife.
Failed Biz Model
Given the demonstrated ranching faction’s intolerance for virtually any natural “predator” (that could possibly impact a failed business model), even the memory of a wolf is unthinkable.
The real impacts have nothing to do with the minimal predation of indigenous species but the inherently compromised health of non-indigenous species, weather, water, grazing, shrinking margins, rising overhead, commodity pricing, the unstoppable move away from animal proteins and the vast public support of wildlife—especially wolves.
The failure and total unwillingness to coexist, and the total failure to recognize the tsunami of public support, is suicidal for an economy already on the critical list. It might be possible to slow down or even stop the return of indigenous species, but it is impossible to stop the advancing choice in consumer spending and support of wildlife.
Supporting the extinction of a rightfully entitled indigenous species will guarantee and accelerate the extinction of an antiquated way of life, its mindset, and its impact on the environment.
It Can be Done
Many people are learning to live with large carnivores on the landscape and doing it through positive education and a willingness to alter some of our own behaviors to protect wildlands and their inhabitants. In fact, I cannot think of any rancher or farmer who does not prefer the wide open spaces and the closeness to nature that they experience every day.
I raised my children in one of the wildest areas of the Lower 48, and they are now raising their children in a landscape we share with wolves, grizzly bears, mountain lions and black bears as well as many ungulates, raptors and other critters. It can be done, we just have to want to.
Not in My Yard
An entire article without one fact about ranching in the Gila in it or one quote from a rancher in the Gila dealing with wolves. Lots of drama and quotes from grade school kids who have been spoon-fed a line of that same drama. It has been in my yard since the beginning of this thing, my kids have been impacted, my cattle have been killed. My husband was forced to shoot one attacking livestock in the field in front of our home [and] was accused of every nasty thing under the sun. My kids were subject to death threats for that shooting, and we were cleared of any wrongdoing.
Please understand those conflict prevention tactics are just that: media pandering tactics not useful in any way. I have been dealing with this as have my neighbors and friends for nearly 20 years, I have been part of the planning process, tried to work within the system. Nonlethal deterrence is a fraud. If it does work, it’s very limited, and the results only last a week or so.
Editor’s note: SFR made several efforts to get ranchers on the record for this story. The New Mexico Cattlegrowers Assocation, among others, did not reply to a request for an interview.
News, June 22: “Taking a Stand”
Griego Off the Hook?
If the reporter doesn’t appear in court, will [Phil] Griego get a new trial because he wasn’t able to face his accuser in court (as just happened in another case here in NM)?
We used the wrong last name for Griego’s lawyer, Thomas Clark.
Movies, June 15: “Paralyzed by Awfulness”
In the Middle
I’m no film critic, but something has to change with SFR’s movie reviews: You need to add a category to your scorecard between “OK” and “Yay.” I recognize that the whole idea is to avoid giving a middle-of-the-road, “average” grade, but that is effectively what “OK” means in every other context.
Some movies—perhaps most of them these days—are indeed just “OK,” and that’s fine. But surely there many that rate better than average but do not achieve (or aspire to achieve) the status of Citizen Kane or Vertigo.
Cover, June 8: “Music Issue”
Worth the Wait
I saw the review you guys did of my album, Waiting for You, in the annual Music Issue. Just wanted to say thank you for the review and for holding onto the CD for so long. It was a while back when I dropped it off :)
Daniel Isle Skye
Glass Half Empty
In your Music Issue, I found the negative reviews of local musicians to be unnecessary and inappropriate. Try playing music, cutting a CD, singing well, and see how far you get! ... I found it so disheartening, to think of having cut a CD, which took countless hours of blood, sweat and toil, only to be dissed by the local Santa Fe Reporter. Next time, try a little tenderness and respect instead!
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