Bold Visions Conservation’s Game and Fish documentary film project is off to a great start with an hour and a half interview with conservationist Jan Hayes, who co-founded Sandia Mountain Bear Watch 23 years ago (excerpt below). Her group has focused on protecting and educating the public about cohabitation with bears and Jan herself has worked as few have, on Fish and Game on issues involving bears, and with her statewide educational efforts, designed to help humans and bears coexist.
Given the amazing information we were able to gather from Jan, keeping this documentary short will be our toughest task! The film is designed to expose and educate the public about the incompetence, cruelty and clear lack of sound science being used by the New Mexico State Game and Fish Department and we’ll be using this film to crowdfund a nationwide reform project.
Jan was once honored by Game and Fish for her tireless work, but now has been blatantly disrespected by the same Game and Fish Commission, as they become more embolden by our Governor, Susanna Martinez. The commission she has created now only represents ranchers, hunters and oil and gas interests.
Conservationists have been told by the new Game and Fish director that they “could care less what they think.”
In New Mexico, bears are the poster child for everything that is wrong with Game and Fish:
They are being killed in unsustainable numbers that are wiping out the population;
The agency is literally hawking bear tags as an add-on to elk tags that has boosted killing of bears from around 350 a year to nearly 800;
Science that the agency uses grossly overstates “prime bear habitat,” making the science used to estimate bear populations completely flawed;
Experts such as Sandia Mountain Bear Watch, using the agencies numbers, have extrapolated that we could lose 50 percent of all bears in New Mexico in 5 years, leaving certain populations like those in the Sandia Mountains genetically inviable, or even extinct;
Despite this danger, the agency completely disregards public concerns. Even many sportsmen are concerned about this new elk-bear connection, for good reason: if a hunter kills an elk, it is generally field dressed (butchered). With the remains of the elk entrails, etc. on the ground, hungry bears are attracted and come to investigate, and the hunters are in waiting to kill the bear as well. This is a clear example of wildlife baiting; that is not a sport, but slob hunting at its worst.
Jan describes herself as a conservative and definitively a republican. She and her husband even contributed to the Martinez campaign, yet she has been treated so poorly she refuses to ever attend another Game Commission meeting, describing their bullying, rude and aggressive demeanor towards her and members of her organization as unforgivable. Even worse, is the fact that they continue to allow bears to be killed to please ranchers and others that do not respect the land, but simply see them as a bank to draw from.
The corruption of this agency is destroying the biodiversity of our forests, grasslands, rivers and mountains. People have grown old and tired fighting an agency that remains hell-bent on killing, rather than coexistence.
This week we have at least 8 more interviews with people that have worked with, confronted, or have been commissioners of this 19th century agency. Their stories will enlighten people across this state and serve as a platform for the many state movements fighting this nationwide disease.
We will never stop fighting the cruel nature of agencies that support trapping and take direction from the livestock industry, while remaining in the shadows, allowing the killing of such beautiful and intelligent creatures as bears.This agency must be forced to change, and change they will! Bears are a gift in nature: they are curious, funny, and smart; bears are treated like varmints, rather than the vital keystone species they are.
It crushes my soul to think of such a special animal being killed, not for food, but for someone’s small ego and the chance to place a rug in their home. It’s a disgrace and a tough thing to swallow as we move to end such madness and change the funding stream and mentality of how an agency given the change to protect wildlife, can evolve to truly serve their anointed mission. As it stands today they are simply ruthless killers, devoid of conscience.
Bold Visions Conservation