Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy

Chiracahua Mountains COA

The Chiricahua Mountains in southeastern Arizona is a “sky island” rich in biodiversity that is home to many bird species that occur at their northernmost range, including the elegant trogon and Rivoli’s hummingbird, making the area a bird watching destination. The thick-billed parrot, now only found in Mexico, once extended its range into these mountains. They also provide globally-significant habitat for Mexican spotted owls. These mountains are also home to a diversity of endemic terrestrial mollusks, including two genera of mountainsnails (Oreohelix and Radiocentrum), woodlandsnails (Ashmunella), and talussnails (Sonorella). The area has the highest bat diversity in the United States. More than 20 species have been recorded here, 11 of which are SGCN. Most of the lands in this mountain range are managed by Coronado National Forest and the Chiricahua National Monument.

Conservation Goals

  • Identify and conserve areas known as stopover and breeding habitats for migratory birds and support their full life-cycle conservation through international collaborations that address threats to their migration and wintering habitats in Mexico, Central America, and beyond.
  • Maintain and improve the status and distribution of endemic SGCN snails and reduce threats to their populations and habitat.
  • Increase connectivity to other mountain ranges and significant wildland blocks.


Primary Threats

3. Climate Change and Severe Weather

3.2: Droughts

7. Human Intrusions and Disturbance

7.1: Recreational activities
7.3: Work and other activities

8. Invasive and Other Problematic Species

8.1: Invasive non-native species

9. Natural System Modifications

9.1: Fire and fire suppression

Potential Conservation Actions

2. Land and Water Management

2.1: Site/area management
  • Conserve or improve areas for migratory birds identified as important habitats during any part of their annual life cycle (breeding, stopover, or wintering).
2.3: Habitat and natural process restoration
  • Reintroduce prescribed burns to increase habitat resiliency in this unique and diverse Madrean woodland habitat.
  • Restore woodland habitats with more climate adaptable species to improve landscape resilience over time.
  • Increase connectivity by removing barriers and impediments to species movement. Modify pasture and boundary fences to meet wildlife-friendly criteria to allow safe wildlife movement or provide wildlife crossing structures to minimize wildlife/vehicle collisions

3. Species Management

3.1: Management of specific species of concern
  • Conduct research that includes surveying and monitoring species and habitats to determine status and conditions so that resources can be appropriately allocated where they are most needed.
  • Monitor bat populations for white-nose syndrome.
  • Conduct acoustic surveillance to detect trends in baseline bat activity and species richness over time.
  • Improve management and restoration of agave species to provide resources and migration corridors for lesser long-nosed bat and other pollinator species.

7. External Capacity Building

7.2: Alliance and partnership development
  • Form and provide support for partnerships and alliances to promote information sharing, learning, and collaboration.
  • Work with federal and state agencies to address the critical need for wildlife movement across the international border with Mexico, and help design any necessary border barriers to improve wildlife movement.

Habitats Present

Strategy Species


Chiricahua Leopard Frog


American Peregrine Falcon, Elegant Trogon, Elf Owl, Flammulated Owl, Grace's Warbler, Lucy's Warbler, Mexican Spotted Owl, Montezuma Quail, Olive Warbler, Red-faced Warbler, Virginia's Warbler, Western Screech-Owl, Whiskered Screech-Owl


Bearded Mountainsnail, Big Emigrant Talussnail, Cave Creek Mountainsnail, Cave Creek Woodlandsnail, Chiricahua Talussnail, Chiricahua Woodlandsnail, Portal Talussnail, Pygmy Sonorella, Reed's Mountain Woodlandsnail


Arizona Myotis, Cave Myotis, Chiricahua Fox Squirrel, Greater Western Mastiff Bat, Jaguar, Lesser Long-nosed Bat, Mexican Long-tongued Bat, Ocelot, Pale Townsend's Big-eared Bat, Southwestern Myotis, Western Yellow Bat, Yellow-nosed Cotton Rat


Chihuahuan Spotted Whiptail, Hooded Nightsnake, Ornate Box Turtle, Rock Rattlesnake, Twin-spotted Rattlesnake, Black-necked Gartersnake, Green Ratsnake, Sonora Mud Turtle


See Associated Aquatic COAs for fish species.

Protected Areas and Other Areas of Conservation Value

  • Chiracahua National Monument
  • Chiracahua Wilderness
  • Leslie Canyon National Wildlife Refuge

Potential Partners

  • US Forest Service
  • National Parks Service
  • Borderlands Restoration Network
  • Sky Island Alliance
  • Sonoran Joint Venture
  • Bat Conservation International

Relevant Conservation Plans

Associated Aquatic COAs