Wildlife Conservation Dataset

Wildlife Conservation Dataset

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New Mexico is one of the most ecologically diverse states in the country, with more than 6,000 animal species living in habitats that range from hot deserts to cold mountaintops. As the human population grows, so does our impact on the environment. Many animal species are threatened by human actions. Wild animals are put at risk when construction or wildfires destroy their habitats, humans pollute the air and water, or introduce new, invasive species. Climate change is also changing the temperature and precipitation patterns in many habitats.


Conservation and wildlife biologists study wildlife species and their habitats to understand how animals live, what they need to survive, and if they are being harmed by human actions. Once we understand how wildlife and their habitats are threatened, conservation scientists create and carry out plans to protect them.






In 2016, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish created the State Wildlife Action Plan, a document that describes wild animal species that are threatened by human activities, the habitats where they live, and what needs to be done to conserve wildlife species in New Mexico. The plan can be found online: http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/conservation/state-wildlife- action-plan/


The plan was written with input from a team of scientists and other experts from universities, government agencies, and tribes throughout New Mexico. The team evaluated more than 6,000 animal species that live in the state and chose 1,400 for more careful consideration as potential Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN). Based on scientific criteria and input from a large group of scientists, 235 animals were listed as SGCN, the highest priority for conservation work. The list includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, crustaceans (like shrimp and crayfish), and mollusks (like snails and clams). The data provided in the State Wildlife Action Plan include the 189 vertebrate species.


Wildlife species are listed as SGCN because at least one of the following is true:


  • The species’ population size is declining in New Mexico.
  • The species is vulnerable and likely to decline based on a unique aspect of that species.
  • The species is endemic, meaning that it is not found outside of New Mexico.
  • The species lives in small groups that are separated from each other by unsuitable habitats.
  • The species is a keystone species in its ecosystem; if it became endangered, many other species might also become endangered or its ecosystem would be negatively impacted.


New Mexico can be divided into six ecoregions, which can be seen on the map below. Each ecoregion has different dominant habitat types and wildlife conservation challenges. In each ecoregion, scientists can work with local communities and use the State Wildlife Action Plan to protect the SGCN in that area.





CODAP is a free educational software for data analysis, a product of The Concord Consortium (https://concord.org) and funded by NSF grants.