Many native wildlife species in New Mexico range across a hundred or more miles throughout the year. The two maps below display probable wildlife corridors in the Placitas vicinity based on what’s known about cougar (mountain lion) ranges. Elk, deer, and other mammals also use these wildlife corridors.
The first map shows a corridor between the Sandia Mountains and the Jemez Mountains, with the red and pink portions indicating the most critical areas. Placitas sits in the lower right portion of the corridor. The second map shows corridors between the Sandias and the Sangre de Cristo range to the north. Placitas is in the bottom left portion of the map near where the two corridors meet. Click on the maps for a larger image.
Wild animals rely on the vegetation, water sources, and other wildlife-friendly characteristics of these corridors as they travel through their native ranges, including through the Placitas area.
Unfortunately, wildlife corridors are increasingly fragmented by roads, highways, fences, mining operations, and home construction. This fragmentation leads to roadkills, loss of habitat and food, and other stresses on wildlife populations.
Because feral horses severely degrade native vegetation, dominate watering spots, and scare off shy wildlife species, their presence within the already squeezed and fragmented wildlife corridors of central New Mexico is a particular concern.
Source: Menke K. Locating Potential Cougar (Puma concolor) Corridors in New Mexico Using a Least-Cost Path Corridor GIS Analysis. Share with Wildlife Final Project Report. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, 2008.