ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s not who you’d first think of to go viral on the social media app, TikTok. But, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is racking up millions of views, reaching a younger and wider audience.

It all started during the pandemic.

“Game and Fish started our TikTok in July 2020,” said Tristanna Brickford, Communications Director for the department. “It was during the heart of the pandemic and it was a way for us to reach our customers with more positive information about fish and wildlife in the state of New Mexico.”

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The state department started sharing content about New Mexico wildlife and recreation, like what you need to use off-road vehicles in the state and fishing tips. But it was a couple of videos about a project in Lake Carlsbad that put them on the map.

“They have built structures using manmade and natural objects to help increase fish habitat in the lake and make it a better place for fish,” said Brickford. “Those videos posted and went viral basically overnight. It was really exciting to see how many people were excited about these fish projects and making it a better place to live in Lake Carlsbad.”

One of the videos has nearly 19 million views, the other has more than three million. “You never know what people are going to be interested in on any of the social media platforms and TikTok is no different,” said Brickford.

Through the app, the state agency can reach people of different ages, all over the world. Brickford said the bigger the reach, the bigger the benefit.

“Here in New Mexico Game and Fish, we have a mission to conserve wildlife for future generations in New Mexico,” she said. “And the more people that are interested and passionate about our wildlife, the better off we’re going to be in the end.”

She said the department plans to continue to grow their TikTok channel. She also said they have seen some upticks in engagement on their other social media platforms, but none to the extent of their TikTok growth.