Operation to kill feral cattle in Gila National Forest ends

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Forest officials have completed an operation to shoot feral cattle within the boundaries of the Gila Wilderness.

A total of 19 feral cattle were killed by a specialized USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services team over three days.

The entire project area was searched at least four times, and no additional cattle were seen by officials.

“Ground-based and aerial removal efforts since October 2021 have substantially reduced the feral cattle population,” said Camille Howes, Gila National Forest supervisor. “We are committed to removing these feral cattle as safely, efficiently, and humanely as possible to ensure a Gila Wilderness that is safe and resilient for generations to come.”

All cattle dispatched in this month’s operation will be left onsite to naturally decompose.

Officials said a closure order in the area will be lifted on March 1. 

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