New Mexico
Plants and Animal Life


Mesquite, Cactus, Creosote, Valley Cottonwood, Black Grama Grass, Juniper, Cedar Pinon, Willow, Blue Grama Grass, Sagebrush, Ponderosa Pine, Scrub Oak, Aspen, Douglas Fir, Spruce, Siberian Juniper, Engelmann Spruce, Berries and numerous hardy grasses and wild flowers.


Jack Rabbits, Cottontail Rabbits, Bats, Kangaroo Rats, variety of Squirrels, Deer, Coyotes, Antelope, Prairie Dogs, Mountain Lions, Bears, Mountain Bobcats, Deer, Elk, Chipmunks, Rocky Mountain Woodchucks, Cony, Mountain Sheep. And grazing on the White Sands Range is Oryx that was imported from Africa.


In the summer of 1857 New Mexicans thought the circus had arrived. A camel caravan marched through the villages along the Rio Grande, but it was no circus. The camels belonged to the United States Army. They were being tested to see how well they worked in the southwestern desert. Desert conditions quickly wore out mules and horses. It was hoped that comaels would be stronger animals. Brought from the Middle East in 1855, the first army camels were stationed in Texas.

Lieutenant Edward Beale brought 25 of these camels to New Mexico in 1857. They were part of an army caravan assigned to build a road. The road was to run westward from New Mexico to California. The camels proved their worth quickly. They carried loads of 600 pounds or more. They did not, like mules and horses, quickly develop sore feet from the rocky roads.

Entering New Mexico near El Paso, Beale's camels traveled northward toward Albuquerque. All along the way excited villages turned out to stare at the strange animals. Much less the native Indians that were watching from the hills as the caravan passed by. Village after village buzzed with excitement. Then on August 10th the camel train reached Albuquerque. Moving westward toward California, the caravcan camped at "Inscription Rock" on August 23rd. There some of the soldiers scratched their names into the rock.

Beale surveyed the new road to California, and the camel proved equal to the American desert. Yet the army did not replace the horse and mule with the camel. Soldiers disliked handling them. When the Civil War ended, so did interest in the Camel Corps. Many of the animals were sold. Others were left to run wild. It is said that if you sit quietly on the range you might be one of the lucky ones to see a camel among the oryx. How true that is, I do not know.

Today the skeleton from one camel of the New Mexico caravan stands in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. It is the last remains of the camels' visit to New Mexico.

NM Rivers

NM Water

Lincoln County Conflict Begins

Lincoln County War

Lawlessness continues in New Mexico

NM Land

NM Land Surface


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