‘Kids Cage’ Installed to Protect Kids from Wolves at New Mexico Bus Stop

First Posted: Oct 31, 2013 07:33 AM EDT

Kids in Reserve, a tiny community in rural New Mexico might be caged. Stunned on reading this? But it's true that kids waiting for school bus at a small rural community of Reserve may be placed inside cages made of wood and mesh to protect them from hungry wolves.

The new 'kid cages' comes as a reasonable precaution for parents who fear wolf-attacks, but this new practice leaves a few parents sceptical. Nearly half a dozen of wood and mesh cages are placed at the bus stops of the rural western New Mexico town.

"They're designed so children can step up in them and sit down and wait for the bus," Catron County Sheriff Shawn Menges told "What happens out here in these rural areas is that most of the time, the parents are going to sit and wait with the children [for the bus] in their vehicle, but that's not always true."

This new way of safeguarding kids in the cages is a result of an endless political debate that was triggered when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service demanded the Endangered Species Act for 75 Mexican wolves in New Mexico and Arizona. This act makes killing of the wolves an illegal practice. The agency eventually expanded the area where these creatures can roam freely.  Conservative groups refer to wolves as a threat to humans and livestocks. But, wolf defenders who claim no wolf attacks ever documented in New Mexico or Arizon, label the kid cages as mere stunt, reports National Geographic.

"There's been absolutely zero, nada, zilch attacks on humans by wolves in the Southwest, so I think these cages are a reaction to a non-problem," said Eva Sargent, director of Southwest programs for Defenders of Wildlife. "For some people, it's a political ploy to bring attention to other things. A lot of the fear stirred up by these kid cages, at the base of it, is an anti-government fear and the wolves are standing in for that."

Menges highlighted a case that took place early this year in which a wolf became a threat for a mother and her young son near a bus stop on the outskirts of the town. Though the wolf was later removed by the FWS officials, the news spread like fire.  These new kids' cages have been installed on the orders of the Reserve Independent School officials.

There have been just three wolf attacks on humans documented in the past 40 years in North America. But none of the attacks were by Mexican gray wolves. These attacks were reported from Canada and Alaska.

Native to North America, the Mexican Gray Wolf is the subspecies of gray wolf and is rarest species. They feed on elk and deer and occasionally feed on rabbits and squirrels as well. There are 47 Mexican wolf breeding facilities in United States and Mexico with the largest in the world.

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