West Texas Wildlife Management

Endangered Species

Endangered means that a species may become extinct. A species is endangered when the number if individuals (called the "population") of a plant or animal species has gotten so low that we're concerned that soon there will be no more of that species left in the world.

Threatened means that the species may become endangered in the near future. A species is called threatened when the population has gotten low enough that it soon may be hard for the adults in the species to produce enough offspring to get the population back to healthy numbers. What's a healthy population size? Large enough to survive normal threats to a population -- like a drought or being killed by natural predators.

Habitat loss is often the primary factor threatening a species' existence.

Extinction ... A Natural Process

Species do become extinct naturally. The reason why some biologists are concerned is that today species are becoming extinct at a much faster rate than ever before. What used to take millions of years may only take ten years now. Species are becoming extinct faster than new species are being created.

Using the Land and Protecting the Environment

Most people believe that by planning carefully and working together, we can continue to build and invent and grow as a civilization AND protect our natural environment for future generations. There are some success stories already. For example, the bald eagle was once endangered, but is now off the endangered list because many people worked together to help save it. Scientists and biologists first looked at all the reasons the eagles were dying out, and then wildlife biologists, lawmakers and citizens worked together toward solutions that saved our national bird from extinction. There are other stories, however, of more native habitat being lost than ever before and a record number of species that are being recommended for the threatened and endangered lists.

Working together, biologists and landowners are finding ways to help keep species from dying out, and still protect landowners rights to use their private property for development, ranching, farming, industry, etc. Some plans that are working include: setting aside special areas for wildlife habitat; decreasing or changing the use of certain pesticides and herbicides; managing livestock or crops in ways that also protect rare species and their habitats; and preserving wetland areas where many migrating species come for water every year. One of the most important plans is learning and sharing scientific information about wildlife needs with the people who are making decisions about land use.

The Chihuahuan Desert is well known for its unique ecosystems supporting several endangered species (Mexican long-nosed bat, Comanche Springs Pupfish, Big Bend Gambusia, black-capped vireo, and Lloyd's hedgehog cactus). Managing the Trans Pecos to provide the variety of natural habitats on which each of these species depends is quite challenging.

Any biologist can help you with endangered species concerns on your property; however the Diversity biologist of the Trans Pecos specializes in nongame and endangered species.