• Montezuma Peak

    Coronado

    National Memorial Arizona

Mammals

Nature and Science

Black bear on the Coronado Cave Trail.

(NPS photo by Mike Hardin)

Results of recent inventories of bats and terrestrial mammals indicate that Coronado National Memorial has a great diversity of mammal species, 44 and 11 respectively. This is probably due to a number of factors: the presence of thick grassland vegetation in ungrazed areas, which supports many species of rodents; the memorial’s location in the Huachuca Mountains, which are very diverse for biogeographic reasons; and the memorial’s connectivity to other natural areas nearby, including the Huachucas, the San Pedro River, and undeveloped areas in Mexico.

As a small but significant block of protected land at the southern end of the Huachucas, the memorial undoubtedly plays an important role as a refugium for many mammals, including not only grassland species, but also game animals such as deer and predators such as mountain lions. Because of this, the memorial may also play a role in any return of species that are presently extirpated from the area. Black-tailed prairie dogs, which probably occurred in or near the memorial earlier in this century, continue to persist over the border in Mexico just a few miles south of the Huachucas. It is not impossible that this species could naturally recolonize protected grassland areas of the memorial sometime in the future. In addition, the memorial provides a potential refugium for jaguars, ocelots, and gray wolves moving northward, should these species increase in number. For the larger mammals, the memorial does not have sufficient area to contain the entire home range for even a small population, thus they would depend on the surrounding natural areas.

Did You Know?

Dragon formation, Coronado Cave, Coronado National Memorial

Coronado Cave, located in Coronado National Memorial, has numerous scalloped and tilted limestone bedding planes. Geologists examining these scallops estimate that at one time as much as 50,000 gallons of water per minute flowed through the cave from east to west.