Wildlife & Habitat Conservation

February, 2020

  • 14 February

    Legislature Passes State Wildlife Corridors Act

    NMDOT employees inspect one of two large bridges over the Rio Puerco on U.S. Highway 550 south of Cuba, a high wildlife-vehicle collision hotspot. Eight-foot tall woven wire fencing constructed along the highway right-of-way will force wildlife to move under the highway at these two bridge locations. Department photo by Mark Watson.

    In February 2019, the New Mexico Legislature passed Senate Bill 228, the New Mexico Wildlife Corridors Act, sponsored by Senator Mimi Stewart and Representatives Joanne Ferrary and Georgene Louis. The Act was signed into law by Governor Lujan-Grisham March 28. The Act directs the New Mexico Department of Game and …

  • 14 February

    Department monitors Gila elk calf population

    Conservation officer Kasey Gehrt prepares to take biological samples from an elk calf. Department photo by Alexa J. Henry.

    On an early June morning in the Gila National Forest, Department of Game and Fish conservation officers and biologists stop their pickup trucks along a winding dirt road. It’s a quiet, sunny morning; the only faint sound is the whirling of a distant, lone helicopter scanning the landscape below for …

  • 14 February

    Wildlife Captures: Q&A with the Department’s big game program manager

    Big game program manager Nicole Tatman and conservation officer Jared Burns examine a captured calf. Department photo by Martin Perea.

    Captures are conducted to accomplish a variety of specific goals, said Nicole Tatman, big game program manager with the Department. “Biologist are looking for some piece of information from the species or herd.” For example, a capture could help biologists investigate why a population of elk is declining in certain …

  • 14 February

    Out of Range: Javelina are making appearances in some of the most unlikely places

    Out of RangeJavelina are making appearances in some of the most unlikely places

    Collared peccary, better known as javelina, have been a part of southern New Mexico’s landscape since before biologists such as Stokely Ligon and Vernon Bailey started discovering things about them in the early 1900s. The name javelina is derived from jabalina which, in Spanish, means “wild sow.” These medium-sized omnivorous …

  • 14 February

    Conserving Rare Southwestern Fishes

    WPA workers pose at Dexter Fish Cultural Station ca 1936. USFWS National Fish and Aquatic Conservation Archives.

    Certain places in our collective consciousness seem to exist because they have been the subject of books. The Four Corners belong to Tony Hillerman; the Gila River to Rev. Ross Calvin; and the Pecos Wilderness to the legendary conservationist and former director of the New Mexico Department of Game and …

November, 2019

  • 26 November

    Wildlife pathways: Long-billed curlews

    Long-billed curlews (Numenius americanus) are a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in New Mexico. This large shorebird breeds in grassland habitat and New Mexico is at the southernmost extent of their breeding range. The Department of Game and Fish is collaborating with biologists from the United States Fish and Wildlife …

August, 2019

  • 27 August

    Department Conducts Largest Elk Capture in New Mexico

    Conservation officer Clovis Rivera scans the landscape below for cows and calves. Department photo by Martin Perea.

    A helicopter rises slowly over the snow-covered trees in the predawn light. Heading up into the mountains, the headlights from a procession of trucks, loaded with nets, netguns and other capture gear, can be seen glistening across the snowy landscape below. A hundred miles away, a small group of elk …

June, 2019

  • 13 June

    Black-footed ferrets reintroduced

    A released ferret peeks out from a black-corrugated tube. Department photo by Jim Stuart.

    Hiding inside small pet carriers in the back of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service truck, eight very rare animals that once thrived in New Mexico waited to go home. It was a sunny, late September afternoon when wildlife biologists, conservationists, ranchers and local residents gathered on the side of …

  • 13 June

    Wildlife water woes

    Game and Fish biologists and officers fill up side by sides to the max with fencing materials and tools to install the new Crossroads wildlife drinker and a fence to keep out livestock. Department photo by Cody Johnston.

    Wildlife in the southeast New Mexico desert get a new drinker If you are from southeastern New Mexico or have spent any time here you know it is a dry and at times hot climate. It can be really hot, windy and dry in the summer months with not much …

  • 13 June


    Jeremy Lane is the Department of Game and Fish public information officer for the Southwest Area.

    Taking inventory of the Mesilla Valley Bosque In the pre-dawn hours of Mesilla, bleary-eyed biologists are debating whether the large black bird they just saw fly over was a common raven or a Chihuahuan raven. The discussion isn’t pedantic one. They are participants in a BioBlitz at Mesilla Valley Bosque …