The Chihuahuan Desert is the largest desert in North America, covering parts of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. It stretches from south of Albuquerque, New Mexico to north of Mexico City, spanning about 1,500 km. The desert is home to a rich biodiversity of plants and animals, including more than 500 species of cactus, the largest prairie dog colony in the world, and more than 500 bird species.
The Chihuahuan Desert is not a typical desert. It has a high altitude of 3,000 to 5,000 feet, which makes it cooler and wetter than other deserts. It also has many mountain ranges, such as the Sierra Madre, the Sierra del Carmen, and the Guadalupe Mountains, that create “sky islands” of different climates and habitats. The desert also has important rivers, such as the Rio Grande and the Rio Conchos, that provide water and support aquatic life.
The Chihuahuan Desert is a beautiful and diverse landscape that faces many threats from human activities. Overgrazing, mining, water misuse, and population pressure are some of the challenges that affect the desert’s ecosystems and wildlife. WWF and other organizations are working to protect and restore the Chihuahuan Desert for the benefit of nature and people.