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  • Young bull elk / Refuge remote camera, USFWS

    Sharing Our Firsts With You

    With our refuge closed to the public, we're highlighting animals seen for the first time on the refuge since its establishment in 1941!

  • Black bear photographed on the refuge (blonde coated) / M. Weisenberger, USFWS

    Most Startling!

    A few years ago, the first documented and photographed black bear was sighted on the refuge! A few more are seen today. Blonde coat color.

    North American black bear

  • Male painted redstart songbird / M. Weisenberger, USFWS

    Something to Tweet About

    An adult painted redstart sighting was a new bird species record for the refuge and White Sands Missile Range in Doña Ana County. A Male.

  • Javelina trio / Refuge remote camera, USFWS

    Having a "Rootin" Good Time!

    Javelina, or collared peccary, are regularly seen on the refuge now! Their rooting behavior digs up cactus and plants to feed upon.

  • Northern parula warbler female / J. Gahr, USFWS

    Our Most Recent Visitor

    During the refuge's current bird banding season, a new visitor was seen for the first time. A male Nashville warbler. Another Record!

Two Majestic Mountain Ranges!

New Monument To Our South

Organ Mountains with snowcapped peaks / G. Powers, USFWS

The beautiful, "purple mountains majesty," Organ Mountains were designated by presidential proclamation on May 21, 2014 as a National Monument titled: Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. The Organ Mountains' range and this new National Monument are located just to the south of the San Andres Mountain range and San Andres National Wildlife Refuge. The Organ Mountains are one of the most majestic mountain ranges in the nation and frequently display the breathtaking purple hues on the west side of the range when the sun sets. The Monument is managed by the Bureau of Land Management - Las Cruces District which is an Agency under the Department of the Interior, as is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.

Presidential Proclamation

Highlighting Our Area's National Monument

Organ Mountains Photo Gallery

View some of our refuge staff and refuge volunteers' photographs of the famous, picturesque Organ Mountains.

A Photo Gallery tribute to the new National Monument

About the NWRS

National Wildlife Refuge System


The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.

Learn more about the NWRS  

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Presenting San Andres Nat'l Wildlife Refuge

  • Bringing San Andres National Wildlife Refuge to You

    Desert bighorn sheep ewe with lamb / © Christina Rodden, DOD-WSMR

    Our public website strives to bring the scenic beauty of San Andres National Wildlife Refuge to you. The refuge is not open to the public due to its location and for security and safety protocols. Minimal access on the refuge preserves its pristine habitat which provides an invaluable natural laboratory for scientific and research studies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have over 125 National Wildlife Refuges that are regularly closed to the public due to their location, for the protection of key species, and for public safety. San Andres National Wildlife Refuge's lands and native species will continue to be preserved to their historic state for generations to come.

    No Public Access
  • Pioneering Refuge Manager

    28 hour old desert bighorn sheep lamb

    San Andres National Wildlife Refuge's second Refuge Manager, Cecil Kennedy, was a real cowboy. He served as the refuge's Manager for 23 years before his retirement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He was one of the last refuge managers to conduct wildlife surveys on foot and horseback. A quote, from one of Kennedy's fellow refuge employees, Tom Emanuel, describes Kennedy as “looking like John Wayne.” "He was daring on horseback. He would do things others would consider risky, to cover the area. He was very good at what he did.” Tom Emanuel also remembers how "Kennedy loved those sheep." (This referred to a native, remnant herd of desert bighorn sheep. It was for the preservation and protection of this historic herd that initiated the establishment of San Andres National Wildlife Refuge.) Kennedy conducted ground surveys on the refuge to make sure every desert bighorn lamb was counted. The photo above is of a 28 hour old desert bighorn sheep lamb whose birth was observed by refuge staff.

    A Look Back . . . Cecil Kennedy
Page Photo Credits — All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted., Mature mountain lion close-up / refuge remote camera, Young bull elk, javelina trio, and mountain lion / Refuge remote cameras, USFWS, Black bear with blonde coat, male painted redstart songbird, and building remains / M. Weisenberger, USFWS, Nashville warbler male / J. Gahr, USFWS, Organ Mountains with snowcapped peaks / G. Powers, USFWS, Desert bighorn sheep ewe with lamb / © C. Rodden, USDOD, 28 hour old desert bighorn sheep lamb whose birth was observed by refuge staff / USFWS
Last Updated: Jul 07, 2015
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