The year 1999, where many were fearing the arrival of an apocalyptic Y2K, seems to have somehow adversely affected critters in New Mexico. Consider these incidents:
A female wolf who was introduced during a Defenders of Wildlife news conference in Albuquerque, did not seem to generate much goodwill during her stage time. The wolf managed to appear aloof during the entire press conference, sniffing boots and jumping up on the speaker’s table, then promptly piddling on the plush carpeting at the Hyatt Regency hotel.
In Carlsbad, a 250-pound bear jumped over a fence at the city zoo and led police on an elusive chase for hours. As a police cruiser was patrolling the street for the bear, officers did a double take when they noticed the animal trotting alongside their vehicle. The bruin quickly scrambled up a nearby tree and was tranquilized and returned to its home.
In a case of confused identity, a bighorn sheep roaming around a pasture near Cimarron became amorously interested in the horses in the pasture. So lusty in his pursuit of the horses, the sheep drove two of them into a fence, whereupon he was captured and relocated to the Manzano Mountains. Game and Fish officials were hopeful he would find a more compatible partner and kindle a romance in that area.
In Taos, a one-ton Angus-Limousin bull escaped from a nearby ranch and began terrorizing the downtown. He managed to dent a police car, knocked over a cowboy, frightened some tourists, wandered into a hardware store and dented yet another vehicle before he could be zapped with a tranquilizer gun. The first shot didn’t calm down the animal, so a second dose had to be administered before he was loaded into a horse trailer and unceremoniously hauled back to his home.
And finally, a story of invaders. People apparently tired of their pet goldfish dumped them into Quemado lake in western New Mexico. Apparently grasping the fact that their life was no longer limited by an eight-inch glass bowl, the goldfish managed to grow and reproduce with reckless abandon, threatening the trout population in the lake. Game and Fish Department officials instituted a program to eradicate the thousands of fish and return it to a mostly trout environment.
As one fisheries expert explained it, “Goldfish are like the people who like to hang out in smoky bars and get really friendly and multiply. Trout are the guys who like to go outside and have a beer by themselves.”