Nearly half of captured bears released in Rio Arriba County

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – Records show nearly half of all bears captured by game wardens across New Mexico over the last three years have been released to one northern New Mexico county.

According to documents obtained by The Santa Fe New Mexican under an open-records request, the state Department of Game and Fish has captured 68 bears across New Mexico since 2015 and 32 were released in Rio Arriba County.

Northern New Mexico ranchers and others have long believed that the area has become a dumping ground for bears captured in other parts of the state, causing death of livestock and other property damage.

But a Game and Fish spokesman says there’s no evidence that relocated bears are causing abnormal livestock predation in Rio Arriba County. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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