National monument removes wild cattle

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By Special to the Monitor

Bandelier National Monument announced the completion of feral cattle removal in the monument for 2009.  Feral cattle are cattle that have reverted to a wild state.

“We had five unbranded, untagged feral bulls moving between the Falls Trail and Alamo Canyon,” said Lott.  “After consulting with the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Board and gathering feedback from the public, the park implemented its approved direct-reduction-by-shooting method to eliminate feral cattle.  Having cattle anywhere in the park is a conflict with our mandates to protect park resources and provide for enjoyable hiking experiences. The bulls were aggressive towards hikers and were trampling our riparian vegetation.”

“Feral cattle have been a problem at Bandelier for many years,” added Lott. “We will continue to work with our neighbors to manage feral cattle issues in ways which are compatible with all of our needs. It will remain our priority to keep them out of Bandelier. People should anticipate hearing about this in the future as long as cows continue to bypass fences and cross the Rio Grande.”

“Feral cattle have very negative impacts on both cultural and natural resources in Bandelier,” said Chief of Resources Barbara Judy. “As they destroy the vegetation, they cause broad-scale erosion and damage the water quality of nearby streams and rivers. They increase erosion in and around archeological sites. They make Bandelier less habitable for the native plants and animals. As park managers, we will continue to manage impacts on park resources and provide for visitor safety as our key mandate.”