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Wildlife on the BrinkSouthwest
Southwest scenicSpecies Gallery

regional quote
For millennia, the cracked canyons and crimson rocks of the Southwest have hosted ancient native cultures and wildlife uniquely suited to its dramatic environment. Vast swaths of land in this region have scant federal protections, and today, oil and gas interests, encouraged by the Bush administration, are grabbing public land for drilling and exploration in this fragile territory. A number of the Southwest's desert and high-country plants and animals are now at risk; the stories of a few are told here.
BioGems: Saving Endangered Wild Places
REDROCK WILDERNESS: Southern Utah's redrock country contains the largest acreage of unprotected wilderness in the western United States. More than two dozen endangered or sensitive animal species, including the Gila monster, whose saliva is the source of what may prove to be an important new drug for treating diabetes, and the desert tortoise, live in this fantastic terrain of wildly twisted rock shapes and invaluable indigenous cultural sites.
CHIHUAHAN DESERT: A thumb of this great desert extends north of the Mexican border into southern Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Its dry, cactus-spotted landscape is prime roadrunner territory. The shrubby terrain also supports pronghorn antelope, mule deer and jackrabbits, while hawks, eagles, bobcats, and of course wily coyotes like the clear sightlines to their prey. In Big Bend National Park, which hugs the Rio Grande in West Texas, more than 450 species of birds have been identified.
TEXAS HILL COUNTRY: This dollop of grassland northwest of San Antonio features a mosaic of open woodlands and tall grasses, rocky hills and deep canyons, clear lakes, spring-fed streams and limestone caves. Endangered birds like the golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo nest in the woodlands, while bats roost in the caves below. Springs support the Texas blind and San Marcos salamanders, both endangered.
Photos: Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge © John & Karen Hollingsworth/Digital Library Service, USFWS; Chiricahua Leopard Frog © USFWS; Apache trout © John Rinne, USFWS; golden cheeked warbler © Steve Maslowski, USFWS
Feature Home Print Version Alaska Northwest California Rockies/Prairie Southwest Midwest Southeast Northeast Hawaii International Chiricahua Leopard Frog Apache Trout Golden-Cheeked Warbler

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