SANTA FE, N.M.—Data released by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish shows a stark decline in native wildlife deaths from trapping since the implementation of ‘Roxy’s Law,’ which banned commercial and recreational trapping across New Mexico public lands beginning in 2022. And, since the law went into effect, TrapFree New Mexico has seen a significant drop in New Mexicans reporting negative encounters with traps and snares on public lands.
“Roxy’s Law is doing exactly what New Mexicans hoped it would,” said Chris Smith, southwest wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “Fewer native wildlife are being brutally killed for private profit and public lands are now safer for New Mexicans and visitors to recreate on with their pets.”
According to Department of Game and Fish furbearer ‘harvest reports,’ the number of protected species (a classification which includes most wildlife but not coyotes and skunks) killed by trappers in 2022-23 is 40% lower than the prior trapping season. The deaths of commonly exploited species like the grey fox (56%) and bobcat (31%) declined precipitously, as did beavers (47%), which are increasingly being recognized for their ecological and hydrological importance.
Even before the enactment of ‘Roxy’s Law’ following the 2021 legislative session, data shows that trapping has been on the decline. A growing number of fashion companies refuse to buy and sell fur. And increasingly, New Mexicans view wildlife as part of their broad social network rather than something to be used primarily for human benefit.
“Being able to enjoy New Mexico’s public lands without the worry of traps is a huge relief for anyone whose dog has been trapped or who has found wildlife suffering in one” said Mary Katherine Ray, wildlife chair for the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club. “However, public land enthusiasts are reminded that there may be trappers willing to break the law and if they find a trap, it should be left in place as evidence and reported to law enforcement so that person can be prosecuted.”
Reporters can find ‘harvest report’ data from 2012-2013 collected by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and compiled by TrapFree New Mexico here.