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SANTA FE, N.M. -Wildlife supporters may order the New Mexico Wildlife License Plate Oct. 15. The plate features a colorful Gambel's quail and revenues will help generate additional, much-needed funds for Share with Wildlife, a program that helps New Mexico's "species-in-need."

Species-in-need include a wide variety of wild animals - mostly nongame - including bats, chipmunks, jackrabbits and other small mammals, many species of birds, lizards and snakes, and a host of others. Share with Wildlife, which is supported by voluntary donations, state income tax check-off donations, and interest return on its principal with the New Mexico State Investment Council, is a component of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

The New Mexico Wildlife License Plate will cost $25 for the first year, in addition to regular annual renewal costs. Share with Wildlife will receive $15 of that amount to help species-in-need, and the remaining $10 will go to Taxation and Revenue/New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division. Renewal stickers for subsequent years will cost $10 in addition to the standard license renewal amount. All of the additional $10 will go to Share with Wildlife.

Although orders may be taken as early as Oct. 15, the actual plates will not become available until January 2004.

The New Mexico Wildlife Plate was signed into law April 6, 2003 as Amended House Bill 656. The original bill was proposed and championed by Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Bernalillo County/District 21, with input by former New Mexico State Game Commissioner Steve Padilla.

Why feature a Gambel's quail? Isn't that a game species, which already has other sources of funding?

"Yes, it is," says Jane Susan MacCarter, Share with Wildlife coordinator. "But it's also a very attractive species that just about everybody likes-hikers and wildlife-watchers, hunters, anglers and birders. Since we want a lot of folks to buy this plate, we want to appeal to the widest audience possible."

"Although it's true that the Gambel's quail has other potential sources of funding, it doesn't receive very much in the way of financial resources," says Chuck Hayes, assistant chief for endangered species and nongame wildlife. "It's competing with lesser prairie-chickens, waterfowl, and lots of other species that appear to have higher-priority needs for our limited resources, so it's a pretty good mascot for species that potentially could need funding."

The selection of the Gambel's quail was determined by a Department Wildlife License Plate Review Committee, Rep. Stewart, and by members of the New Mexico State Game Commission.

The New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division will begin taking orders for the Wildlife License Plate Oct. 15 and deliver them in January 2004. If you wish to order a Wildlife License Plate, you may obtain the required order form from two web sites beginning Oct.15:

Motor Vehicle Division web site:

To access information on the web, select "Forms," then select "Motor Vehicle Forms," then scroll down to the "Wildlife Specialty Plate" form. Select the form and print it.

You also may order a specialty plate from the New Mexico Game and Fish web site: NMDGF web site:

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to "NEW FEATURE, IN THE SPOTLIGHT," then click on "Order Wildlife License Plate." It will bring up the same specialty plate order form that is found on the Motor Vehicle web site. Select the form and print it.

If you are placing the plate on a vehicle that is already registered, simply fill out the form and enclose a check in the amount of $25 made payable to the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division and mail it to the address below. The Motor Vehicle Division will process your request and you will receive your plate in January 2004.

If you are placing this plate on an unregistered vehicle, you must register the vehicle and then apply for the specialty plate, or go to the Motor Vehicle Division main office at Room 2085, 1100 South St. Francis in Santa Fe.

If your registration is about to expire and you want to exchange it for a wildlife plate, call the MVD toll free number 1-888-683-4636 for instructions.

"Step forward and be counted!" urges Don MacCarter, chief of Public Affairs for the Department of Game and Fish. "Buy a New Mexico Wildlife License Plate on behalf of our nongame species statewide. Help make this plate a success in New Mexico, providing much-needed, new funding for species that really need it."



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