SANTA FE, N.M. — The Department of Game and Fish is in the early stages of developing New Mexico’s first Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS), a blueprint for conserving biodiversity and preventing more species from becoming endangered. Federal legislation requires the strategy to focus on the “species in greatest need of conservation,” yet address the “full array of wildlife” and wildlife-related issues. The plan must also contain information on species of wildlife that are “indicative of the diversity and health of the State’s wildlife, including low and declining populations as the State fish and wildlife agency deems appropriate.” Department of Game and Fish biologists have developed a draft list of target species they believe can serve as surrogates for all others with similar requirements and vulnerabilities. Conservation of these target species and their required habitats is expected to perpetuate the biodiversity upon which all depend for their continued existence. The Department’s focus is on birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. The public is invited to learn more about the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy at www.wildlife.state.nm.us and comment on the draft list of target species.