Southwest Region
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Southwest Region Highlights HotTopics

Alpha Female 1553 from the Sheepherders Baseball Pack prepares to rejoin her pack after being captured, collared, and released back into the wild. Credit:USFWS Interagency Field Team
2017 U.S. Mexican Wolf Population Survey Completed

February 2018
The Mexican wolf Interagency Field Team (IFT) has completed the annual year-end population survey, documenting a minimum of 114 Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico at the end of 2017.

Read the news release.

Western Meadowlark. Credit: USFWS
Learn About the Great Backyard Bird Count

February 2018
The Great Backyard Bird Count is a free, fun, and easy event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of bird populations. University of New Mexico Wildlife Biology student Jason Kitting explains how anyone can participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count.The count took place on Feb 16-19, and similar events are coming up in May, October, and December 2018.

Watch the backyard bird count video.

Texas hornshell mussel. Credit: Dan Trujillo, NMDGF.
Last Remaining Native Mussel in New Mexico to be Listed as Endangered

February 2018
The Fish and Wildlife Service is finalizing Endangered Species Act protection for the Texas hornshell, a once abundant freshwater mussel that now occupies only 15% of its historical range in Texas and New Mexico. To provide conservation benefits for the hornshell and regulatory certainty for landowners and industry, the Service has worked closely with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, the Center for Excellence, the New Mexico State Land Office, the oil and gas industry and landowners to develop a Candidate Conservation Agreement and a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for the Texas hornshell on the Black and Delaware Rivers. In October 2017, we finalized a Candidate Conservation Agreement (CCA) and a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) for the hornshell, as well as the Rio Grande river cooter, gray redhorse (a fish), blue sucker and Pecos springsnail. Interested landowners or industry can enroll in the CCA or CCAA until March 12, 2018, the effective date of the hornshell listing. The CCA and CCAA will be in effect for 30 years and cover conservation activities that take place on federal and non-federal lands in the Black and Delaware Rivers in Eddy County, N.M. and Culberson County, Texas.

Read the news release.
Read Frequently Asked Questions
Read the Federal Register Notice
Access additional information is available on the Texas Coastal Ecological Field Office site.


Tad Skiba displays a rainbow trout he caught at the Albuquerque Drain South near Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge in Albuquerque, NM on Dec. 3, 2017. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is currently stocking the rainbow trout at the drainage near the refuge. Credit: Tad Skiba, USFWS.
Southwest Urban Wildlife Refuge Now Offers Fishing Near Rio Grande Bosque

February 2018
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is a place where visitors can enjoy bird watching, learn about nature through environmental education, and take leisurely walks and hikes. Now, starting this month, visitors can add fishing to the list of activities to enjoy at this urban oasis.

Read the news release.







Bull elk at Wichita Mountains Refuge. Credit: © W. Munsteman.
Roosevelt’s Game Preserve
Once barren of elk, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge now affords once-in-a-lifetime ​hunting opportunities.

January 2018
Elk belong here—as much as white-tailed deer and bison and a litany of songbirds that arrive from the south to nest and leave when the earth wobbles back toward the autumn season. Autumn yields to winter and a season of another kind starts. A robust population of elk allows hunters an once-in-a-lifetime chance to hunt this largest of big game.

Read the full story.


Bald eagle. Credit: USFWS.

Bald Eagle Death Under Investigation in Oklahoma
Reward offered for information

January 2018
McCurtain County, OKLAHOMA- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is investigating the death of bald eagle found adjacent to a rural county road, approximately seven miles west of Broken Bow in McCurtain County, Oklahoma.

The eagle was discovered by a local rancher who notified the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The eagle carcass exhibited indications it was shot with a high-powered rifle. Additional evidence was recovered at the scene. The Service’s Wildlife Forensics Laboratory is conducting a necropsy to verify the cause of death.

Read the news release.


Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan arrived at Bosque del Apache NWR in time to see the evening fly-in, when waves of cranes and geese come in for the night. Credit: USFWS
Southwest Regional Office Welcomes Principal Deputy Director Sheehan

January 2018
This week, Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan paid a visit to the Southwest Regional Office in Albuquerque, NM to meet with employees and tour the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). During his visit, Sheehan discussed new priorities for the Service and answered questions from staff at an All Employee Meeting. Later in the day, Regional Director Amy Lueders and members of the Southwest Regional Directorate Team provided Sheehan with a tour of Bosque del Apache NWR, the winter home of thousands of snow geese, sandhill cranes and other migratory birds.

Southwestern willow flycatcher migrant in Glendale, Arizona, Sept. 2004. Credit: © Jim Rorabaugh.

Southwestern Willow Flycatcher to Retain Endangered Species Act Protection

December 2017
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed an extensive review of the validity of the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher’s classification, confirming that the subspecies is a valid, unique taxon. Protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1995, the Southwest riparian area nester will remain protected as an endangered species.

Additionally, current threats and status of the southwestern willow flycatcher were evaluated. The Services finding confirms that although some populations have made considerable progress toward recovery, the subspecies and its riparian habitat are experiencing substantial threats; the southwestern willow flycatcher still warrants protection as an endangered species.

Read the news release.
Learn more...

Alligator snapping turtles retrieved in illegal trafficking case. Credit: USFWS.
Alliagotor snapping turtles. Credit: USFWS.
Two Brothers Sentenced to 21 Months and 16 Months in Prison for Illegally Trafficking Threatened Alligator Turtles

December 2017
Travis Leger of Sulphur, Louisiana, and his half-brother Jason Leckelt of Wilburton, Oklahoma, were sentenced today in federal court in Beaumont, Texas, to 21 months and 16 months in prison, respectively, followed by three years of supervised release for conspiring to violate the Lacey Act by illegally trafficking alligator snapping turtles.

Read the news release.
Read the KFDM Southweast Texas news story.



Adult wolf pair with pups. Credit: USFWS.
Adult wolf pair with wolf pups. Credit: USFWS.
Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, First Revision Posted

November 2017
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has completed a revision to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan. The goal of the plan is to provide guidance to recover the subspecies and remove it from the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife and turn its management over to the appropriate states and tribes. The recovery plan uses the best available science to chart a path forward for the Mexican wolf that can be accommodated within the species’ historical range in the Southwestern United States and Mexico.

Read the News Release
Read the Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan
Visit the Mexican Wolf webiste for more information.

Southwest Region Archived News Releases

Search additional archived news releases for the Southwest Region

Wildlife Selfies
Southwest Emphasis Areas
Youth and Students
U.S. Fish and Wildlife News Publication
Southwest Region Weather Emergency

Hawaiian Hawk Hatched at Comanche Nation Aviary
She goes by the name of “Wahine.”
Read the story

Two Texas Songbird Populations Improving
Fort Hood is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Military Conservation Partner Award. It serves as a symbol of the Region's appreciation for our partnership with Fort Hood and recognizes their outstanding contributions to natural resource conservation.
Read the entire story...



Last updated: February 22, 2018