Several feral cows will be culled from the skies this week in New Mexico

Authorities have approved for shooters to go into a helicopter and cull dozens of feral cattle they say are damaging habitats in New Mexico’s Gila wilderness.

The four-day cull begins Thursday and authorities hope to take around 150 stray or unbranded cows. Environmentalists say they are destroying ecosystems of endangered species.

The New Mexico Cattle Growers Association has threatened legal action over these types of cattle, saying some of them in the bullseye could belong to ranchers already hurting from a challenging season.

The Forest Service says this is the most efficient and humane way to protect wildlife habitats and the general public. They were sued by several cattle groups last year for aerially shooting cattle.

UPDATE: USDA is set to start shooting feral cattle in New Mexico today. A judge denied ranchers request for an emergency order to stop the cull. The U.S. Forest Service will start shooting them from helicopters in the Gila National Forest. Ranchers say the carcasses litter the land where their cattle graze. Just this week, the New Mexico legislature tabled a bill that would allow people to found up and sell the cattle. Ranchers fear that will lead to livestock theft.

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