LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – A lot of people were doing a double-take Sunday in Las Cruces. An animal that isn’t native to New Mexico decided to take a stroll in an unexpected spot.
New Mexico State University is an agricultural college, so you will find your fair share of animals there, but this is a first. An oryx decided to take a trip through campus on Sunday.
“The oryx passed in front of me, and was going towards the Terisa dorms,” said Andrew Pantoja.
It definitely turned heads and had people stopping to take pictures. Oryx do roam the White Sands Missile Range, not too far away. They were brought here by the Department of Game and Fish from Africa in the late ’60s, but none have ever made it this far.
Andrew Pantoja says he was at work on the campus Sunday morning when he spotted the oryx running through the university courtyard. He managed to snap a few photos before the animal ran towards the I-25 frontage road.
The Department of Game and Fish suspects the Oryx crossed under the interstate bridge onto campus. Wardens tracked the animal near the Pan American Center. The goal was to return it to the wild, but they soon learned that would not be possible.
“This particular oryx did have a severe injury, which was causing some illness along with the injury, and so it was euthanized because of those reasons,” said Tristina Brickford, a Game and Fish spokesperson.
People on campus say it’s a sad ending to the story, but say they were just glad they got to see such a majestic animal up close.
“It was pretty cool to see one in this area, especially in the NMSU campus. Because of the break, right now all students are gone. The campus is pretty empty, so it’s pretty exciting to have something eventful right now,” said Pantoja.