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Watchable Wildlife

When it comes to watching wildlife, New Mexico is famous not only for the world-renowned bat flights at Carlsbad Caverns, but also big horned sheep and pronghorn antelope that like to race alongside vehicles on dusty backcountry roads, and the specially adapted neo-tropical animals living in the very southern regions of the state. BLM New Mexico manages over 13 milllion acres of public lands that provide diverse habitats for fish, wildlife, and special status species of plants and animals.

Both native and exotic species thrive here in New Mexico. Don’t be surprised if you are driving around New Mexico and see some very odd looking animals grazing off the side of the road. Many non-native, exotic species -- such as Barbary sheep, Oryx, and Ibex of the Saharan regions areas of North Africa -- have been introduced into the state. Another introduced species, and symbol of the old West, also is thriving in New Mexico – wild horses, which can be seen on public lands east of Socorro and other remote areas of the state.

Bird watching? There are at least 479 species living in New Mexico, many of them are neo-tropical species migrating up from Mexico and South America. We have a bird checklist you can download to keep tract of all the different species you might find around the state.

For more information on Watchable Wildlife, please visit our Field Office sites or visit some of the web links below.

Watchable Wildlife Etiquette

Wildlife viewing is a favorite recreational activity of many who live or visit the West. And nearly all wildlife is "watchable wildlife," if you have the patience.

  • Observe animals from a safe distance. Get close by using binoculars, a spotting scope or a camera with a telephoto lens. You probably are too close if animals are looking at you with head up and ears pointed toward you or are "jumpy" when you move or make a noise. If you see these signs, sit quietly or move slowly away until the behavior changes. Be especially sensitive to adults with young.
  • Move slowly, quietly, and casually, not directly at wildlife. Allow animals to keep you in view; do not surprise them.
  • Never chase or harass wildlife; harassment of wildlife is against the law.
  • Leave pets at home. At best they hinder wildlife watching; at worst they can chase, injure or kill wildlife; or they can become prey themselves.
  • Using the animals’ behavior as a guide, limit the time you spend watching if animals appear to be stressed.
  • Respect others who are viewing the same animals.
  • Do not feed wild mammals; keep them wild.
  • Respect private property rights; ask first to watch on private land.
  • Resting is critical behavior for many animals; don’t encourage them to "do something or act up" for you or your camera.
  • Avoid animals that behave strangely or aggressively. They may be ill. Don’t pick them up, and report your sighting to the New Mexico Game and Fish or other government agency.

BLM New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Areas

Photo of Mountain Lion

Watchable Wildlife Watchable Wildlife

Carlsbad Field Office
 Black River Recreation Area
 Guadalupe Backcountry Byway
 La Cueva Non-Motorized Trail System

Farmington Field Office

 Angel Peak Scenic Area
 Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness

Simon Canyon Area of Critical Environmental Concern

Las Cruces District Office
 Aguirre Spring Campground
 Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
 Dripping Springs Natural Area
 Gila Lower Box Canyon
 Granite Gap
 Lake Valley Backcountry Byway
 Lake Valley Historic Townsite
 McGregor Range
 Prehistoric Trackways National Monument
 Sierra Vista Trail
 Soledad Canyon Day Use Area

Rio Puerco Field Office

 Cabezon Peak Wilderness Study Area
 Cebolla Wilderness
 Chain of Craters Backcountry Byway
 Continental Divide National Scenic Trail
 El Malpais National Conservation Area
 Ignacio Chavez Special Management Area

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

 Perea Nature Trail

West Malpais Wilderness

Roswell Field Office

 Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area

Valley of Fires Recreation Area

Socorro Field Office

 Continental Divide National Scenic Trail

Datil Well Recreation Area Campground


Quebradas Backcountry Byway


San Lorenzo Canyon Recreation Area

 Socorro Nature Area

Taos Field Office

 Rio Chama Wild and Scenic River

Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River

 Red River Wild and Scenic River

Wild Rivers Backcountry Byway


Wild Rivers Recreation Area

 Orilla Verde Recreation Area
 Sabinoso Wilderness