ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque BioPark is teaming up with the Valles Caldera National Preserve to help preserve the park’s wildlife. This will be a five-year zoo-park partnership that will help expand the BioPark’s conservation efforts far beyond its gates.

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“Future projects will hopefully include supporting Jemez Mountain salamander and the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse,” said Brandon Gibson, deputy director of the City of Albuquerque’s Department of Arts and Culture. “Along with many volunteer-based service works to help monitor the important wildlife activity at the national preserve.”

City officials said it’s one of only eight partnerships between zoos and National Parks.  The BioPark will provide wildlife expertise to the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The partnership will also be a gateway to introducing the BioPark’s more than one million guests per year to the native habitat at the preserve through new exhibits and educational programs and encourage them to become more involved in conservation efforts.

“Our goal for the first year will be installing bat and bee boxes at the national preserve helping produce more pollinators,” said Gibson. “We’ll also be helping remove old sections of branch fencing and assisting in planting projects in areas surrounding repairing habitats.” 

They hope to have this partnership fully underway before the spring. As of now, the BioPark doesn’t have any of the animals they mentioned hoping to preserve. But they hope to bring in some at-risk species like the Jemez Mountains salamander, and New Mexico meadow jumping mouse to the zoo soon. They’ll also work to boost the habitat of New Mexico’s state fish, the Rio Grande cutthroat trout.