Cabeza Prieta

National Wildlife Refuge - Arizona

Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge is located within the Yuma Desert, a lower-elevation section of the Sonoran Desert, in southwestern Arizona along 56 miles (90 km) of the Mexico–United States border. Originally established to protect desert bighorn sheep, the refuge is home to more than 275 different species of animals and nearly 400 species of plants.

maps

Statewide Map of Arizona Surface Management Responsibility. Published by Arizona State Land Department and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).AZ Surface Management Responsibility - Arizona State

Statewide Map of Arizona Surface Management Responsibility. Published by Arizona State Land Department and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Yuma County Map of Arizona Surface Management Responsibility. Published by Arizona State Land Department and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).AZ Surface Management Responsibility - Yuma County

Yuma County Map of Arizona Surface Management Responsibility. Published by Arizona State Land Department and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

brochures

Brochure of Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Arizona. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Cabeza Prieta - Brochure

Brochure of Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Arizona. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Mammals at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Arizona. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Cabeza Prieta - Mammals

Mammals at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Arizona. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Reptiles and Amphibians at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Arizona. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Cabeza Prieta - Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles and Amphibians at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Arizona. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Balance in the Desert at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Arizona. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).Cabeza Prieta - Balance in the Desert

Balance in the Desert at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Arizona. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

Cabeza Prieta NWR https://www.fws.gov/refuge/cabeza_prieta https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabeza_Prieta_National_Wildlife_Refuge Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge is located within the Yuma Desert, a lower-elevation section of the Sonoran Desert, in southwestern Arizona along 56 miles (90 km) of the Mexico–United States border. Originally established to protect desert bighorn sheep, the refuge is home to more than 275 different species of animals and nearly 400 species of plants.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge Enjoy your refuge Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (CPNWR) offers excellent opportunities to explore one of the most biologically diverse deserts in this country. At first the Sonoran Desert may seem like a harsh environment but with quiet observation, the reward will be memories for years to come. The information below will help ensure visitor safety as well as preserve the integrity of Cabeza Prieta NWR for future generations. Wildlife Protection CPNWR is home to over 275 different species of wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep and two endangered species, the Sonoran Desert pronghorn and lesser long-nosed bat. Federal law prohibits collecting or disturbing plants, wildlife, rocks or artifacts. Good News! The refuge was created in 1939 in part to help rescue desert bighorn sheep from sharp decline due to over hunting and poaching. Today the refuge sheep population is doing very well. As of 2014, the refuge has over 600 sheep. In 2003 refuge staff lent a hand to the floundering Sonoran desert pronghorn herd. Its numbers had dwindled to a mere 21 animals when wildlife biologists stepped in. Thanks to many partners and helping hands from a variety of concerned biologists, government agencies and private entities the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was able to save the pronghorn from extinction. Today it is one of the most successful “come-back” stories in wildlife history. Visitor Permits A current Visitor Permit is required for each visitor 18 years old and older. Before entering the refuge each time, visitors must register at one of the entry kiosks to validate their permit. Camping Visitors are encouraged to camp at one of the established campgrounds on the refuge, although dispersed camping is allowed. The campgrounds are primitive with no amenities other than picnic tables. Please bring your own campfire wood and remove any extra when done camping. Camping is limited to 14 days in a 28-day period. No camping within a ¼-mile of any game water source. Vehicles must be stay within 50 feet of the centerline of the road. Back country campers may use dead and down wood for fire. Back country campers may not camp within ¼-mile of wildlife waters. Roads and Vehicles Only street-legal motorcycles and street-legal all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), as defined by Arizona state law, are allowed on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. See www.azgfd.gov/ohv Motorcycles and ATVs must be fitted with an 80 square inch high-visibility flag that extends a minimum of eight (8) feet above the ground surface. All vehicles (including motorcycles and ATVs) must stay on the public roads (see refuge map). Vehicle travel on any other roads, trails, or off-road is prohibited. All public use roads are primitive, unpaved, and minimally or unmaintained. Non-OHV vehicles must be high clearance and four-wheel drive to use the El Camino del Diablo and Christmas Pass roads. Twowheel drive vehicles with high clearance may use the Charlie Bell Road. If a road is impassable due to flooding, mud, deep sand or a lawful closure do not drive off-road to circumvent such areas. For this reason, it is best to be prepared with enough fuel for unexpected turn backs. Visitors should contact the refuge visitor center for the latest travel and safety information including sensitive wildlife areas. Visitors should be aware of their surroundings and other vehicular traffic especially law enforcement traffic which may, in the course of duty, travel at high speeds. Fires and Firewood Charcoal or propane stoves are recommended for use on the refuge in order to preserve the natural appearance of the campsite. However, wood fires are permissible by adhering to the following rules: • Only allowed at the designated campsites. See refuge map. • Visitors must bring their own wood. Due to the scarcity of wood and valuable wildlife habitat, the collection of firewood or vegetation of any kind is prohibited within the refuge with the exception of backcountry hikers. Backcountry hikers may use dead and down wood for campfires. • Use established fire rings or fire grates. Do not create new fire rings. Before leaving camp make sure the fire is out and cold. Hunting The only permitted hunting on the refuge is desert bighorn sheep. Contact the refuge for additional information. Target shooting or the discharge of a weapon is strictly prohibited except for legally licensed and permitted hunters while actively hunting during the hunt season. Leave No Trace Practice an outdoor ethic to sustain a healthy, vibrant refuge and other public lands for all people to enjoy now and into the future See www.LNT.org • Plan ahead and prepare • Travel and camp on durable surfaces • Dispose of waste properly If there are more than four vehicles in your group, you must apply for a Special Use Permit prior to entering the refuge. The issuance of the SUP is at the discretion of the refuge manager. Contact the
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Mammals Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge Mammals The Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939, to reserve and set apart lands for the conservation and development of natural wildlife resources. Now, more than 50 years later, many species of Sonoran wildlife have benefited from the protection of the Refuge. Wilderness status was given to most of the Refuge in 1990, which means that these species, including the endangered Sonoran pronghorn and Lesser long-nosed bat, will have a better chance to survive and reach a natural balance within this part of their range. In order to survive in the harsh Sonoran desert environment, mammals have had to adapt through a variety of means. These include nocturnal life styles, extreme efficiency in obtaining and conserving water (some live on water extracted from plant life only), and protective coloration. Water sources on the Refuge are natural rock basins, called “tinajas,” a few manmade storage areas, flowing washes after rains, and one intermittent seep. Natural adaptation has enabled these species to live for thousands of years with the available resources. While the majestic bighorn and rare pronghorn receive a lot of attention, there are more than 40 other species of mammals whose presence is necessary to maintain the ecological balance of the Refuge. You will notice that bats, squirrels, mice, rats, and gophers make up the majority of mammal residents on the Refuge. These small creatures play a major part in sustaining the chain of life, that includes the larger and better-known residents. So, when a glimpse is seen of any of these wary and shy desert dwellers, you have had a unique opportunity to experience firsthand a part of this complex and fragile Sonoran desert ecosystem. Sonoran Pronghorn FWS Photograph The following list includes mammals whose presence within Cabeza Prieta boundaries has been verified. Big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus pallidus) Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus) Bats California leaf-nosed bat (Macrotus californicus) [Category 2 candidate species] Lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris curasoae verbabuenae). This bat has endangered status; formerly called Sanborn’s long-nosed bat. Pocketed Free-tailed Bat (Nyctinomops femorosacca) Silver-haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) Rabbits and Hares Antelope jackrabbit (Lepus alleni alleni) California Myotis (Myotis californicus stephensi) Black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus eremicus) Pallid bat (Antrozous pallidus pallidus) Desert cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii arizonae) Western Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus hesperus hesperus) Squirrels Harris antelope squirrel (Ammospermophilus harrisii) Townsend’s big-eared bat (Plecotus townsendii) (Category 2 candidate species) Rock squirrel (Spermophilus variegatus grammurus) Big free-tailed bat (Tadarida macrotis) (Category 2 species) Round-tailed ground squirrel (Spermophilus tereticaudus neglectus) Pocket Gophers Botta’s pocket gopher, three subspecies (Thomomys bottae growlerensis, phasma, pusillus) Pocket Mice Arizona pocket mouse (Perognathus amplus taylori) Bailey pocket mouse (Perognathus baileyi baileyi) Desert pocket mouse (Perognathus penicillatus pricei) Rock pocket mouse (Perognathus intermedius phasma) Kangaroo Rats Merriam’s kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami merriami) Desert kangaroo rat (Dipodomys deserti arizonae) Desert Pocket Mouse Mice and Rats Cactus mouse (Peromyscus eremicus eremicus) Peccaries Collared peccary, “javelina” (Tayassu tajacu) Suggested Reading List William H. Burt & Richard P. Grossenheider, Pinacate cactus mouse (Peromyscus eremicus papagensis) [Category 2 candidate species] Deer and Relatives Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus crooki) (Peterson Field Guide Series), Houghton Mifflin Co. 1964. Canyon mouse (Peromyscus crinitus disparilis) Pronghorns Sonoran pronghorn (Antilocapra americana sonoriensis). This animal is listed as endangered. Southern grasshopper mouse (Onychomys torridus torridus) White-throated wood rat (Neotoma albigula mearnsi) Desert Woodrat (Neotoma lepida auripila) Doglike and Foxlike Animals Coyote (Canis latrans mearnsi) Kit fox (Vulpes macrotis macrotis) Gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) Racoons and Relatives Ringtail (Bassariscus astutus yumanensis) Weasles and Relatives Badger (Taxidea taxus berlandieri) Western spotted Skunk (Spilogale gracilis leucoparia) Cats Bobcat (Felis rufus baileyi) Mountain Lion (Felis concolor) FWS Photograph Sheep and Relatives Desert Bighorn (Ovis canadensis mexicana) Following are animals which have been verified near the Refuge and would be expected to be resident or transient, but no verified sightings have been made on the Refuge. A Field Guide to the Mammals Mammals of Donald F. Hoffmeister, , University of Arizona Press, 1986. Arizona Deserts James A. MacMahon, (Audubon Society Nature Guide), Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1988. Gale Monson & Lowell Summer, editors, , University
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Reptiles and Amphibians Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge Amphibians and Reptiles Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of 860,000 acres of Lower Sonoran Desert habitat. A general look at the refuge depicts small but very rugged mountain ranges, separated by broad alluvial plains except in the lower central portion, where a volcanic formation penetrates the refuge from Mexico. The over-all hot and dry climate of the refuge is ideally suited to the needs of cold-blooded reptiles. Generally the region experiences 90-100 straight days of 100 degrees F. temperatures during June to October. Rainfall on the refuge varies from a 7.5 cm average in the western regions, to a 20 cm average on the east side (a distance of some 60 miles). Rainfall occurs during July, August, and September in the form of brief but intense summer thunder showers along with longer winter storms that soak into the ground. Freezing temperatures during the winter months rarely occur. The species listed in this brochure are the result of notes and observations of many people over the course of several years. The list is considered to be incomplete and is intended to offer an introduction for the refuge visitors. Amphibians are described as having moist glandular skin, and toes without claws. Their young pass through a larval stage (usually aquatic) before metamorphosing into the adult. Frogs and toads belong to this group. Reptiles have scales, shield or plates covering their bodies and their toes (when present) bear claws. In this group belong the turtles, lizard, and snakes. Amphibians Toads and frogs are not generally thought of as resident of the desert, but some five toads and at least one frog species occur on the Cabeza Prieta NWR. Most, such as the Colorado River Toad, are located in close association with many made water catchments or natural basins that fill with water during summer storms. Others, such as Couch’s Spadefoot Toad, occur throughout the refuge and are very active following summer thunder showers. Toads Couch’s Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchi) Occurs in the eastern valleys of the refuge. Most noted for its black “spades” on its hind feet which it uses for digging and burrowing. Great Plains Toad (Bufo cognatus) May occur throughout the drainage areas of the refuge, in the eastern valleys. blossoms of the creosote bush are an important food. When sprinting, this species runs on its hind legs. Sonoran Green Toad (Bufo retiformes) Very localized. In the United States occurs only in southern Arizona. On the refuge it is present in the Aqua Dulce Mountains and the lower San Cristobal Wash area. Zebra-tailed lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) A swift moving, colorful lizard with a black and white ringed tail usually seen in the valleys and lower hills throughout the refuge. Colorado River Toad (Bufo alvarius) Largest native toad in the western U.S., with adults often 20 cm long in length. This toad is common at water tanks and catchments throughout the refuge. Red-spotted Toad (Bufo punctatus) Most common toad throughout the refuge. Frogs Canyon Treefrog (Hyla arenicolor) Highly localized, present at or near natural permanent water sites. Other toad and frog species thought to occur on the refuge include: Western Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus hammondii); Woodhouse’s Toad (Bufo woodhousei australis); and the Burrowing Treefrog (Pternohyla fodiens). Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard (Uma notata) Highly localized in the sand dune area surrounding the Pinacate lava field. When pursued, this lizard readily runs and buries itself in loose sand. Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) This lizard inhabits rocky areas throughout the refuge where it may be seen jumping from rock to rock searching for other lizards and crickets. Being an aggressive reptile, the collared lizard may attempt to bite if caught. Long-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii) Not common. Present primarily in lowlands and flats across the southern portions of the refuge. Habits similar to C. collaris feeding mainly on lizards, spiders, and insects. Reptiles Turtles Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizi) Present in the eastern portions (Pima County) of this refuge. This desert dweller is most active in the spring and following late summer rains. Flowers and new green growth are favorite foods of the tortoise. The tortoise becomes dormant in burrows during the hottest summer and cooler winter months. Lizards Desert Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus) This colorful little lizard is present throughout the refuge but is seldom seen as it is nocturnal. The gecko is capable of emiting chirping and squeaking sounds. Chuckwalla (Sauromalus obesus) Largest of the lizards on the refuge and is present in all of the mountain ranges. Although extremely wary, the chuckwalla can often be seen sunning itself on top of distant boulders. It is strictly a vegetarian. Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus doralis) This lizard occurs throu
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Balance in the Desert Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge Balance in the Sonoran Desert The Sonoran Desert Ecosystem is a complex orchestra of plants, animals, geology and climate. All members of this community depend on each other for a harmonious and balanced existence. Here, wildlife has adapted to, and depends on, daily heat and seasonal rain cycles. The dramatic landscape is the result of the arid climate and the geological history. This field guide is an introduction to the Sonoran Desert Ecosystem. We hope it will help you fall in love with this beautiful area and learn to respect its delicate balance. the saguaro. Each spring, while drinking the nectar from the blossoms, the bat pollinates the flowers with pollen collected from previous visited saguaros. During the summer, the bats eat the saguaro’s fruit and distribute its seed in their guano. The Gila woodpecker carves pockets in the thick flesh of the saguaro to use as safe nesting places. The saguaro lines these wounds with scab-like crusts, called boots. When the woodpeckers abandon their cavities, elf owls will nest and seek refuge there. The six plants discussed in this guide can be found throughout the Sonoran Desert and in the garden area in front of the Visitor Center at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. A young saguaro depends on shrubs and trees for shelter. These nurse plants protect the saguaro seeds, and young plants from intense desert floor heat and trampling. Most mature saguaros have outlived their nurse plants. Saguaros may live to be 200 years old. Caution: Please watch your step! Venomous snakes and lizards in the area. Foothill Palo Verde: Leaf or Leafless? Creosote is Everywhere! The creosote bush is one of the most prolific plants of North American deserts. Many animals depend on this bush for food and shelter. The creosote grasshopper lives and feeds exclusively on this plant. It eats the small resinous leaves that creosote has developed to conserve water. The threatened* California leaf-nosed bat will descend upon a creosote in search of large night flying insects. The creosote bush is an ideal place for small burrowing animals to excavate their homes. The branches hide burrow entrances of desert pocket mice and western whip-tail lizards from their predators, bobcats and American kestrels. The creosote’s broad and shallow root system is well adapted to the desert’s infrequent and light rains. The roots also support the soil around the animals burrows, which increase the water and air supply to the creosote’s roots. Any material that accumulates in the burrow, such as scat or grass used for nests, will eventually decompose and enrich the soil. Saguaro: A Desert Giant The saguaro is the most conspicuous cactus of the Upper Sonoran Desert and bears the state flower of Arizona. The lesser longnosed bat, an endangered species, has developed a codependent relationship with The foothill palo verde, from a distance, may appear to have been stripped of its leaves and dipped in paint. Actually, the tiny leaves and photosynthetic bark are the tree’s adaptations to conserve water. Under a palo verde is a good place to find a black-tailed jack rabbit feeding on the tree’s leaves and seed pods. While the jack rabbit eats or rests, it hides amongst the tree’s branches from its sly and quick predator, the coyote. Look for jack rabbit signs, their pellets are larger than the desert cottontail’s. A moist greenish pellet is a sign that the animal has been here recently. Once the seed pods are opened by the jack rabbit, Merriam’s kangaroo rat will collect the seeds that the rabbit missed, eat some, and store the rest in caches up to 200 feet away. Later, the rat returns for the remainder of its collection - if it can find it. Often, all of the seeds are not recovered; a few of the ones left behind may germinate and grow into new trees. Bursage: A Stabilizing Savior When it rains, water runs down the mountain slopes and carries with it loose rock material. As the speed and force of the water decreases toward the base of the mountain, rocks, gravel and sand are deposited in graceful sweeping fan shapes at the mouths of the canyons. These formations are called alluvial fans. Over time the fans grow, merge together and fill the valley floor, creating the ever-changing and shifting, wash-creased bajadas. Bursage grows on the bajadas, and is one of the most important soil stabilizers in the Sonoran Desert. Its roots help to keep the loose soils from washing away during rain. Bursage is often one of the first plants to take root in a disturbed area. It is also an important browse plant for the desert cottontail and the endangered Sonoran pronghorn. A Thorny Fortress of Chainfruit Cholla The chainfruit cholla is one of many chollas found in the Sonoran Desert. The cactus wren builds its nest between the chainfruit’s branches. Even the bush climbing Sonoran whipsnake avoids the thicket of spines gu

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