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Thinning and Wildlife

It has been previously discussed that in the proposed thinning area there's a known mountain lion den. We can ill afford to have these gorgeous animals driven from their homes and ever-farther away.

Late yesterday afternoon, while driving down to Highway 50, we were directly in the area to be thinned when first one, then a second and then a third Western Gray Fox slowly crossed the road in front of us. Two appeared to be young, with the third, slightly darker in color, appeared to be the mom. They were all healthy, and the young ones were inquisitive enough to have crossed in front of us and then stopped to look back at us (we had the motor off and were parked by then).

These "local residents" really are our neighbors and, believe it or not, they provide a valuable service because they'll systematically eliminate as many rodents as they can get their sharp little teeth on. They might bother a house cat, but they won't go after dogs or horses. I know, because I've seen a Western Gray Fox at our fence, nose-to-nose with our dog. I'll further guess that the mom has been "working" our place of late, because the rodent population has been significantly reduced, which we've seen periodically during our 20-plus years here. I'll take a fox over a rodent any day of the week, but after aggressive and non-science-based thinning takes place you can kiss all of those rodent-eating foxes goodbye, along with many other valuable creatures.

La Cueva Valley really is a rural area, and we should treat it as such. An over-aggressive thinning is only going to accomplish one thing -- it will drive the little remaining wildlife in our area away. If you doubt that, just go up the road and take careful look at what the overly aggressive thinning has accomplished. There are no more Abert's Squirrels evident up there. There are far fewer birds evident. If you're looking for a sterile, animal-free forest, that's what you're going to get with aggressive thinning.

-- Jon Asher, longtime La Cueva Resident