SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – With a new law, the state is looking to dedicate funds to preventing crashes between cars and wildlife. The New Mexico governor signed the idea into law Thursday, March 23.

There were more than 2,500 crashes with deer around the state between 2009 and 2018, according to an action plan report. Senate Bill 72 looks to study and create protections for drivers and animals.

Deer aren’t the only animals at-risk in these crashes. Others include elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, black bears, and even cougars. Data from the state’s Department of Transportation reveals that over the last two decades, more than 600 bears and 150 cougars were involved in crashes.

This isn’t the first law in New Mexico to address the issue. In 2019, lawmakers passed the New Mexico Wildlife Corridors Act, which put the state on the path to developing a comprehensive action plan. Now, the newest law directs state agencies to start implementing those plans.