Skip to main content
Key Conservation Issues:

Wildlife & Habitat Conservation

New Mexico and the greater Southwest are home to wildlife populations that thrive in our varied ecosystems, from mountains to high desert to unique grassland habitats. According to the Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico has the 4th highest native species richness in the nation, and counts 90 species that are known to live only in our state.

However, our wildlife species are at risk, as the planet is experiencing a global extinction crisis. A 2018 report from the World Wildlife Fund found that 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have been wiped out since 1970, putting the future of our global ecosystem in jeopardy. This crisis is being driven by a combination of unchecked human development, poor habitat and forest management practices, extractive industry, habitat destruction, and the impacts of climate change. In New Mexico alone, the Department of Game & Fish reports that there are 116 animals on the threatened and endangered species list, and numerous plant species are in jeopardy.

At the same time, increased pressure for expansion of residential development along with industrial and extractive industry have continued to push vital ecosystems and wildlife habitat to the brink. This has created conditions that have exacerbated the impacts of climate change, like devastating forest fires in the Southwest, and recklessly bolstered permanent development of public lands that are home to critical wildlife and fragile ecosystems. It is clear that aggressive and immediate action on climate change and protection of remaining land and water resources are critical to the survival of our state’s wildlife.

Slowly, New Mexico is recognizing the tremendous benefits of protecting our natural assets, like our wildlife. Outdoor recreation is a multi-billion dollar industry in New Mexico. Economic studies show that more than $1 billion annually is spent directly on wildlife-associated recreation, and an additional $1 billion is spent on non-wildlife related outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and skiing. The recent creation of the Division of Outdoor Recreation by the Lujan Grisham administration is an impressive step toward leveraging this industry and generating jobs in a way that protects what makes our state unique. The division includes the first-ever Outdoor Equity Fund that ensures New Mexico’s youth experience the land their culture is tied to while also providing opportunities to boost rural economies.

Add to that the booming film industry that thrives on our scenic beauty, and we have every reason in the world to take action to ensure that we don’t jeopardize either our economic opportunity or our legacy for our children and grandchildren.

Mexican Gray Wolf

The Mexican Gray Wolf was eliminated in the wild, due to U.S. government action on behalf of private ranchers.  An emergency breeding and reintroduction program using a handful of wolves captured in Mexico re-established the wolf, but the population in the Southwest stood at just 186 wolves as of 2020. Photo: FWS – Evelyn Lichwa/Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team

Know the Score > Take Action

See the Related VotesStrategies for Action

Related Votes for Wildlife & Habitat Conservation


  • Air Quality Air Quality
  • Effective Government Effective
  • Energy & Climate Change Energy &
    Climate Change
  • Environmental Justice Environmental
  • Land Land
  • Water Water
  • Wildlife & Habitat Conservation Wildlife & Habitat

Priority Bill # Title Sponsors Topics CVNM
HB 184 State Game Commission Changes   more Matthew McQueen
Crystal R. Diamond
Support 2023
HB 261 Expand Unlawful Taking of Big Game   more D. Wonda Johnson
Kristina Ortez
Gregg Schmedes
Support 2023
SB 9 Create Legacy Permanent Funds   more Steven P. Neville
Peter Wirth
Support 2023
SB 9/a Create Legacy Permanent Funds, floor amendment   more Steven P. Neville
Peter Wirth
Support 2023
SB 439 Leg. Approval for Certain Land Purchases   more Crystal R. Diamond
George K. Munoz
William E. Sharer
Oppose 2023

Know the Score > Take Action

Strategies for Wildlife & Habitat Conservation

Actions that protect wildlife and habitats:

Thank you!

The Wildlife Corridors Funding Act (SB 72), sponsored by Senators Mimi Stewart (SD 17) and Carrie Hamblen (SD 38), passed the legislature and was signed into law in 2023. The Act is another step towards fulfilling the promise of the 2019 Wildlife Corridors Act, which called on the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Game and Fish to develop a comprehensive action plan to create safe passage for wildlife and avoid wildlife-vehicle accidents. The plan showed that roughly 1,200 wildlife-vehicle crashes are reported to New Mexico law enforcement annually, costing drivers and the state nearly $20 million in property damage, emergency response, and healthcare costs. SB 72 created a fund to support the Wildlife Corridors Action Plan and its 11 high-priority safe passage projects around the state. The first project broke ground soon after the legislation went into effect. Safe, open wildlife passages will save lives and prevent injuries for animals and humans, and dedicated state funding will also open access to federal resources.

Actions that threaten wildlife and habitats:

No thank you!

In reaction to Roxy’s Law (passed in 2021 and banning certain cruel hunting methods) the 2022 legislature saw two House Joint Resolutions calling for a state constitutional amendment enshrining the “right to hunt and fish.” HJR 5 (Baldonado) – Right to Hunt, Fish and Harvest Wildlife, and HJR 8 (Cook, Black, Rehm and Pettigrew) – Right to Hunt and Fish, could have interfered with State Land Office decisions on the best use of state public lands, with the Game and Fish Department’s regulations on catch and season and use of the best wildlife management methods, and with growing New Mexico’s outdoor recreation economy. HJR 8 specifically called for defense of “traditional” hunting and fishing methods without defining them, leaving open the possibility that snares, pit traps, and net fishing could return to use. It also declared that hunting and fishing would be the “preferred” method of managing and controlling wildlife. Both resolutions failed in the session.


  • National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation, US Fish & Wildlife Service,
2001, plus 2003 addendum
  • Funding Conservation for New Mexico: Providing for Future Generations, NM Dept. of Game & Fish,
and Energy, Minerals & Natural Resources Dept., 2004

Communicate with the Governor and your Legislators

Whether you’re congratulating them on their score or expressing your disappointment, be direct, courteous and polite.

The most important part is letting them know that you are paying close attention to how they vote or, in the case of the Governor, what actions she takes on legislation that affects our air, land, and water.

Calling your legislator directly and sending letters through regular mail remain by far the most effective ways to communicate with your legislators.

The Governor and Lieutenant Governor can always be contacted at the State Capitol. Except during the legislative session, state legislators should be contacted in their home districts, as listed on the current Legislators page.

To find your House District number and Representative, visit our map here.

To find your Senate District number and Senator, visit our map here.

We take on tough fights to protect New Mexico, but these efforts in the State Capitol and around the state require financial resources. We can only win when we work together. Please join other New Mexicans in becoming a Conservation Voter today!

Join Conservation Voters New Mexico today