Thursday, May 10, 2018

Share With Wildlife program relies on public support.

New Mexico’s wild critters and natural environment benefit greatly from those who give generously to the state’s Share with Wildlife Program.

“We’re very thankful to the public for their generous support of the program,” says Ginny Seamster, Share with Wildlife program manager for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. “Without them it wouldn’t exist.”

The public contributed over $90,000 to the program last year through tax refund contributions, specialty license plate purchases and donations to the department.

Donations qualify the department to receive matching funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which brought in another $82,000 last year.

The program funded a total of $165,000 worth of projects this year including much needed financial support for wildlife rehabilitation centers, including the non-profit New Mexico Wildlife Center in EspaƱola, where sick and injured animals receive veterinary care, treatment and rehabilitation before being released back into the wild.

The program also funds research, including a study of the success of the North American river otter reintroduction effort that was conducted 2008-2010, and evaluation of the current size and health of the river otter population in New Mexico.

Another 2018 project involves assessing the reproductive success and survival rates of a turtle species currently under review for potential listing as a threatened or endangered species. Also funded this year is a project to study habitat associations and distribution of a species of chipmunk found only in mountain ranges in southeastern New Mexico.

Another research project involves the study of white-nose syndrome, a devastating fungal disease wiping out many bat colonies in the eastern United States.

The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome has been detected in Texas and this project will help determine whether the fungus is now present in some of the most heavily visited caves and mines in New Mexico that also are roost and or hibernation sites for bats. This is an important precursor to being able to take more proactive steps to protect our state’s bat populations from white-nose syndrome, Seamster says.

“People who contribute to the Share with Wildlife program make all these wildlife projects possible,” she says.

Biologists from other agencies and organizations volunteer to review and select applications for each years’ projects and all donations to the program are earmarked for projects, not administrative costs, she says.

To see a complete list of funded projects, updates and program highlights please visit the department’s website at 

The program received the majority of its donations last year from its share from the sales of popular wildlife license plates by the state Motor Vehicle Division. The license plates feature either a graceful Gambel’s quail, an impressive buck mule deer or a colorful Rio Grande cutthroat trout. The plates can be ordered by mail or purchased directly at an MVD office.

The Share with Wildlife program was started in1981 to help those wildlife species that do not receive funding from any other source.

In the past decade more than $1.5 million has gone to research, habitat enhancement, education and rehabilitation projects that benefit nongame species in need of conservation.

To contribute to this important program please visit the department website at for more information or contact Seamster at (505) 476-8111 or

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