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3 state biologists get rescue awards

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Three state biologists are being honored for their work rescuing threatened and endangered species.

Department of Game and Fish herpetologist Charlie Painter, fisheries manager Kirk Patten and recently retired Gila Trout Recovery Coordinator David Propst received the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Recovery Champions awards for their work rescuing threatened and endangered species.

Patten and Propst were part of a team that responded to last year's Whitewater-Baldy wildfire, the worst in New Mexico history. The team rushed to Gila Wilderness streams threatened by post-fire mud and ash flows and evacuated more than 600 Gila trout and other fish using backpacks, mules and a helicopter

Painter was part of a team that worked to save the Chiricahua leopard frog, projected to go extinct in New Mexico in a decade.

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