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What is a Wildlife Corridor and a Living Mountain?  

February 06, 2024

One of the major reasons Teravalis is proud to call Buckeye, AZ home is due to its continuing commitment to regional biodiversity. The Teravalis community is bordered by two major “living mountains,” the Belmont Mountains and the White Tank Mountains. Living mountains are areas that maintain a thriving ecosystem that provides a home to several species of native wildlife. As one of the fastest growing areas in Arizona, Buckeye has made considerable efforts to maintain our living mountains, allowing local species free space to grow and thrive.   

Wildlife corridors are pivotal for protecting the local environment and creatures that make their home in areas such as the Belmont and White Tank Mountains. Learn all about the wildlife corridors in Buckeye and how they’ll benefit the residents of Teravalis.  

Wildlife Corridors Provide Much More Than Refuge

Around 3% of Arizona’s land is dedicated to wildlife refuges where regional species can live undisturbed, with an additional 15% set aside for national parks. However, conserving land for native species isn’t always enough. Animals have migration patterns during different seasons as they may travel to find food or move from one place to another to find mates. Wildlife corridors are designed to provide a safe traveling route from one habitat to another. In Buckeye’s case, local wildlife will often travel between the Belmont and White Tank Mountains for various reasons.   

The wildlife corridors allow species to travel back and forth without being disturbed by local residents or traffic. Several stakeholders, led by the White Tank Mountain Conservancy, work together to maintain these corridors so animals can continue to flourish throughout the region. Howard Hughes is already working with these stakeholders to ensure these corridors are concepted and maintained to provide a sustainable habitat for local species.   


Meet the Wildlife that Thrives in the Corridor

Desert wildlife corridor

Brown Crested Flycatcher perched on Saguaro Cactus with Insect in Beak.

Buckeye is home to a diverse range of animals that play a large part in keeping the local area beautiful and rich. Here are just some of the animals that call Buckeye their home:   

Mule Deer  

The mule deer is by far the most wide-ranging mammal you’ll find throughout Buckeye. However, they prefer moderately mountainous terrain, so you’ll rarely find them in local neighborhoods. Mule deer typically don’t migrate, but they do move from area to area due to rainfall, food availability, or to avoid other animals.  

Kit Fox  

Kit foxes are an adorable local fox species that inhabit the semi-arid regions of Arizona. They are one of the smallest species you’ll find throughout North America. These animals are primarily nocturnal, choosing to spend the day in small underground dens to avoid the desert sun. Kit foxes are considered omnivores, so they will feast on small mammals and local vegetation.  

Bighorn Sheep  

The Bighorn Sheep prefers to live in the steep upper regions of the local mountains. These large mammals can weigh over 300 lbs. and are easily recognized by their large, curved horns. During the mid-1800s, there was a steep decline in the bighorn sheep population due to competition for food with local livestock brought by ranchers, which is why the state has gone to great lengths to protect local habitats so this species can continue to thrive throughout the region.   

Sonoran Desert Toad  

The Sonoran Desert Toad makes its home in the Buckeye brush and spends most of its day hunting for small insects and mammals for food. During the hotter summer months, they are primarily nocturnal to avoid the heat.  

Black Tailed Jackrabbit  

The Black Tailed Jackrabbit, also known as the American Desert Hare, is one of the largest jackrabbit species in North America. They typically make their home in grassier terrains throughout the Belmont and White Tank Mountains. While they don’t often migrate, they do have population spikes during mating seasons. So, you will often see more of these types of hares come springtime.   


They’re known as the collared peccary or musk hogs in some regions, but local Arizonans prefer to call these pig-like animals by their Spanish name, the javelina. These animals weigh around 35-60 lbs. and spend most of their time hunting for roots or fruit, like the prickly pear. They are social animals that prefer to roam around the desert in herds. Despite their popularity in Arizona, often the subjects of local wildlife photography and art, no javelina bones have ever been found during archeological digs, suggesting that they only recently migrated to Arizona from Mexico.   

The Benefits of Living Near a Wildlife Corridor

Beyond conservation, wildlife corridors also serve many other benefits. Primarily, these corridors help keep animals away from areas where residents live. While most of the biodiversity in Buckeye doesn’t pose a major threat to people, they may scavenge for food if they happen to wander into a residential area. These corridors give animals a place to hunt and look for food without having to rummage through trashcans due to food shortages.   

The other major benefit of wildlife corridors is that animals can avoid traffic. Corridors give them a safe path to travel, whether they’re hunting or looking for a mate — especially for slower-moving animals like toads or desert tortoises.  

But perhaps the biggest benefit of these corridors is that they help keep the beautiful desert landscapes vibrant and alive. Desert insects like bees and birds help to pollinate desert plants and transport seeds and fruit to other areas so the land stays rich with biodiversity. Our goal in building Teravalis is to provide a home where generations can grow and experience the beauty of the desert for decades to come. We look forward to helping our local government in protecting the land around us so our residents can experience the same beauty in the future. 

About Teravalis™

Teravalis is primed to be a 37,000-acre premier master planned community located in the West Valley of the Phoenix metropolitan area, in Buckeye, Arizona. Translating to “land of the valley,” Teravalis is positioned between the White Tank and Belmont Mountain ranges and is committed to embracing the natural High Sonoran Desert beauty. Utilizing innovative technology and sustainable planning, the community will feature unparalleled amenities and wide-open spaces to explore and discover. Teravalis is a community of Howard Hughes, known for its mission to curate vibrant communities that elevate the everyday, creating meaningful moments in great places where people can live their best lives – and thrive for generations to come.