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10 • MAY 2019

www.desertexposure.com

THE NATURAL WORLD • LAURIE FORD

Mimbres Farms Greenhouse & Nursery (Closed the Public) Greenhouse full oftoLOCALLY grown vegetable, herb and Plants available at the ards, flower bedding plants – Artichoke to Zucchini, Alyssum to May 1 Zinnia, andWednesday a lot in-between. Silver City Farmers’ Market

Parking Lot - Forsythia, Lavender, NurseryAce fullHardware of perennial shrubs Rosemary, 5 colors Butterfly 9:00 ‘til 12:00 Bushes, Vitex, Lilac, Snowball, Figs & more.Saturday May 4 Valle Mimbres Market 2739 Hwy 35 ‘til 2:00 • 22 Vairieties of10:00 Tomatoes Saturday May 12 • 20 Varieties of Hot & Sweet Silver City Downtown Farmers’ MarketPeppers 7th & Bullard – 8:30 ‘til 12:00 • 4 Varieties of Eggplant

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• Many varieties of Chards, Kales, Cabbages ALASKA • Perennial and Annual flowers • Summer & winter squash HEAD POT • Varieties of Basils • Perennial and annual culinary herbs SIL NM Boot Scooting Boogie

V E R C I T Y,

Will be at the Silver City Farmer’s Market May Come see me & my studio14th at the

SCAA RED DOT STUDIO TOUR May 2nd & 3rd

Open Friday, Saturday &Gallery,” Sunday Pottery can also be seen at “Ramolla corner of Bullard & Broadway 10:00am ‘til 5:00pm

Letha Cress Closed Monday thru Woolf Thursday Artist-Potter Located at 2290 Highway 61—2 miles Down River from the 907-783-2780

Intersection of Highway 152 and Highway 61. Look for for directions Our Sign Call in beautiful downtown to my gallery San Camino Juan on de theViento, Mimbres River 371 Wind Canyon, Silver City, New Mexico NMDA Nursery License No. 5170

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VICE • PAINT & R E S & B

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Good Time Motors

SALES & SERVICE • PAINT & BODY

Changing thought patterns start to save species

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ho doesn’t find the vision of our beautiful wildlife, living free in their natural environment, awe-inspiring? The siting of a bear and her cubs creates major traffic jams in Yellowstone National Park where vehicles patiently concede to herds of bison on the road that may take hours to disperse. Wild mustangs galloping across the range, their manes and tails streaming in the air, beckon drivers to pull off the highway and watch in amazement until the last horse disappears over the hillsides in a cloud of dust. Or, that rare glimpse of a cougar perched on a craggy ledge in the distance that most would consider to be the vision of a lifetime. But the moment these wild creatures infringe on the very same persons space at home – eating prize rose bushes, nibbling on young grasses intended for domestic livestock or hunting uncomfortably nearby – they are almost instantly transformed into hideous varmints that need to be eradicated. People don’t always like sharing their personal space, especially when it affects them monetarily, with nature, no matter how beautiful it is. This modern-day dilemma isn’t much different from that which European settlers faced when they travelled west across the great plains and majestic mountains in the 1800s. They, too, were in awe of the millions of buffalo and wild horses and other wildlife that dominated the landscape with their beauty and wildness. But, when the time came for these settlers to establish homesteads this admiration turned to disdain as the animals damaged their crops, preyed on their livestock and competed for valuable natural resources the settlers wanted. These are the same complaints that are echoed today, presenting a very similar problem – how to manage the wildlife. Until the turn of the century wildlife was viewed as an unlimited resource so the simple solution at that time was to kill them. Throughout the 1800s animals were hunted and trapped for sub-

Wildlife management has become the norm, putting behind us days when eradication was the policy and wildlife numbers seemed endless. (Photo by Laurie Ford)

sistence and commercial purposes. Any animal killed or captured became private property. Few laws regulating hunting existed and hundreds of species were slaughtered, many to extinction, for personal gain – whether it be for money, land or goods. This unregulated hunting, along with loss of habitat, quickly led to a drastic decline in many species and by 1900 deer had been hunted to near extinction. Bison, once numbering 30 to 60 million, virtually disappeared. The mountain lion had been eradicated east of the Mississippi while states where they were still present in the west continued to offer bounties for their pelts. Wild horses had been pushed into remote desert areas of the west and laws authorizing their slaughter passed in Nevada and other states. It was an uncontrollable, ugly and inhumane era that began to attract the public’s attention and concern. With a heightening awareness of the rapidly declining population of wildlife government agencies began to take steps to protect and preserve threatened species. Refuges and parks were established and new laws, such as the Lacey Act, were introduced eliminating the commercial use of wildlife. But, as communities expanded, encroaching on critical habitat, and largely unregulated hunting persisted the populations of big game animals continued to decline and the fo-

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cus shifted to reduce the numbers killed. For decades wildlife had been viewed as the property, and financial asset, of the states which they inhabited and hunting fees had become a valuable source of income. It was imperative to maintain a sustainable harvest of big game to insure this revenue continued. Game laws were tightened, limits and hunting seasons imposed, and predator control was initiated to not only protect livestock, but the deer and elk prey population as well. In 1914 the Bureau of Biological Survey, now known as United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, was created by the federal government to eradicate predators such as the mountain lion. Since then numerous studies have proven that mountain lions are only responsible for a minuscule number of livestock and big game losses but the agency persists in its mission. The USDA’s own reports show that dogs and coyotes are responsible for close to 65 percent of cattle kills and more sheep in five western states died from poisoning than lion attacks. The government agencies that were created to protect threatened species and manage wildlife were now also tasked with facilitating and regulating hunting and predator control. The belief that short-term considerations supersede preservation of select species, those that create revenue and those that do not, was born. And, the question of who gets to stay, and who goes was largely answered, but the numbers were still to be determined. Laurie Ford moved to New Mexico 15 years ago. Photography and horses have always been her passion. For the past several years she has been travelling around the west, camping in wildlife areas to observe and photograph the animals in their natural environment.

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3032 Pinos Altos Road, Silver City, NM 575-313-7772 • 575-956-7563

Lions, Deer, Mustangs

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Desert Exposure - May 2019  

Desert Exposure - May 2019  

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