October 15, 2022

Game Commission votes to delist Gould’s turkey

Mark Watson/New Mexico Department of Game and Fish

A picture of the Gould's turkey that was included in the 2017 recovery plan

The New Mexico Game Commission voted on Friday to remove the Gould’s turkey from the state’s list of threatened species.

The Gould’s turkey is the largest subspecies of wild turkey in North America. Its range includes portions of southwestern New Mexico, Arizona and Mexico.

The Game Commission began steps to delist the turkey in April.

It has been on the state’s threatened species list since 1974.

During the 160-day public comment period, the state Department of Game and Fish received a total of 13 comments. Of those comments, three opposed delisting. Opponents cited threats to habitat such as wildfire and drought and uncertainty about the number of turkeys living in Mexico.

Stewart Liley, the department’s Wildlife Management Division’s chief, said the state’s Wildlife Conservation Act defines a threatened species as one that “is likely to become endangered or extinct throughout the foreseeable future within its range or a significant portion [of its range.]”

He said based on analysis the department has done, including GPS monitoring, they believe the species no longer meets that criteria.

Katie DeLorenzo from New Mexico’s chapter of the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers spoke in support of the delisting on Friday during the meeting.

“The most recent investigations and best-available science speak to long-term viability and a stable population in multiple locations,” she said.