Mother of Boy Slain by Cougar Mounts Campaign to Increase Cougar Hunting

ALBUQUERQUE — At 9 a.m. on Saturday, Charlotte Salazar who’s son was attacked by a cougar, will speak up in support of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s proposal to increase hunting of bears and cougars in the state and she won’t be doing it alone. As the mother of a wildlife attack victim, she has recently reached out to citizens from across New Mexico and has formed a new group called New Mexicans for Proactive Wildlife Predator Management. And the group is beginning to grow momentum with close to 400 members in just one week.

When asked why she started this group, Salazar said: “One month after my son’s attack in the Sandia Mountains, a man was killed and eaten by a cougar near Silver City and yet again, the following month a third victim was attacked by a cougar in Taos. Also, there have been 5 bear attacks in the past 2 months, most notable a woman being dragged from her tent in the Sandia Mountains, in the same area where my son was attacked.”

Since her son’s attack, Salazar has been researching predator attacks in New Mexico. She has found that attacks by bears and cougars are no longer as rare as New Mexicans are led to believe. She has been urging the Game and Fish to take a “hard look” at predator populations across the state, and their recent studies prove that bear and cougar populations have been grossly underestimated, with now 11 percent more bears and 74 percent more cougars.

Now the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is proposing changes to the hunting rules to increase the number of bears and cougars hunted throughout the state.

“I have read the hunting proposal, and these are good, well thought out changes being proposed by the state’s top wildlife experts. These new hunting rules will not exterminate or eradicate bears and cougars from New Mexico; they will simply help to restore balance to the ecosystem while proactively addressing public safety,” Salazar said.

For more information and to join Charlotte Salazar’s cause, you may friend ‘New Mexicans for Wildlife Predator Management’ on Facebook or email Charlotte Salazar at charlotte@mpwpm.org.

Public comment on the proposed bear and cougar hunting rules may be emailed to nmdept.ofgameandfish@state.nm.us. The public comment period ends September 30, 2010.

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