Activists urge DOT to put up signs to protect wild horses

New Mexico

The legal battle may be over, but the fight to protect a herd of wild horses near Ruidoso is not. There’s now a push to take on speeders to keep them from hitting the horses.

“We just want to make sure that the public is safe, and that the animal is safe, and just to avoid any type of accident we possibly can with wildlife,” said Debi Wilcox.

Wilcox is one of many wildlife advocates who wants the Department of Transportation to put up digital speed reader signs on Highway 48, which runs through Alto.

It’s a busy road she says the horses often cross.

The 15 horses were set free in Lincoln County last month after an intense legal battle — a judge deciding the New Mexico Livestock Board didn’t have jurisdiction over them.

A safety corridor was established in 2010 on the road for all wildlife there, but Wilcox wants at least two signs — one at each end of the highway coming into town — as an extra reminder to slow down.

Locals who KRQE News 13 with spoke say speeding is an issue in the area. They think if the signs go up, they could make a difference.

“I mean, nobody wants to be caught speeding. You see it, you see the speed limit and go, ‘Ah, I guess I better slow down,’” said Jonny Sandbeck.

“When I see those, it just kind of reminds me, you know, be safe…take it easy, you’ll make it, it’s alright,” said Aaron Mayville.

The speed limit on the highway through Alto tops out at 45 mph.

The Department of Transportation says they plan to install eight wildlife crossing signs along the corridor to remind drivers to be on the lookout. DOT also says it will continue to evaluate the idea of placing digital speed reader signs there in the future.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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