Antilocapra americana

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CETARTIODACTYLA ANTILOCAPRIDAE

Scientific Name: Antilocapra americana
Species Authority: (Ord, 1815)
Common Name(s):
English Pronghorn, Mexican Pronghorn
French Antilocapre, Antilope Américaine
Spanish Berrendo
Taxonomic Notes: Sometimes included in the family Bovidae along with other antelopes, but restored to separate family status by Janis and Scott (1987); see also Grubb (2005). Five subspecies are commonly recognized (see O'Gara 1978, Grubb 2005), with most animals belonging to the nominate subspecies. The Sonoran Pronghorn (A. a. sonoriensis) occurs in southwestern Arizona and northwestern Sonora (Mexico).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Hoffmann, M., Byers, J. & Beckmann, J.
Reviewer(s): Mallon, D.P. (Antelope Specialist Group) & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment)
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern as the species remains widespread and relatively common within its range, with a population estimated at between a half to one million animals. No major population declines are reported, with a number of populations occurring in large and well-managed protected areas.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Pronghorn occurs in western North America, from the southern Prairie Provinces of Canada (southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan) south through the western U.S. to northern Mexico (Baja California, Sonora, Hidalgo).

It was introduced on Lanai Island (Hawaii) in 1959, where it reached a population of about 250 in the mid-1960s; however, there were less than 12 in 1983 and it seems headed for extinction (Tomich 1986).
Countries:
Native:
Canada; Mexico; United States
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In the early 1800s, there were probably in the order of more than 35 million Pronghorn. By 1924, they were believed to be near extinction with only about 20,000 animals remaining. From 1924 to 1964 the population increased ten-fold (O'Gara 1978). Today, numbers are estimated at about 700,000. They are generally declining in Mexico, although more stable in the remainder of the range; however, numbers do fluctuate depending on the severity of droughts and winters (O'Gara 1999).

It is estimated that there are fewer than 300 individuals of the Sonoran Pronghorn in the United States and 200-500 individuals in Sonora, Mexico (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1998).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: An inhabitant of grasslands, sagebrush plains, deserts, and foothills. They range from near sea-level to 3,350 m (O'Gara 1999). Their need for free water varies with the succulence of the vegetation in their diet. Some populations undertake seasonal movements, sometimes moving as much as 160 km from their summering area (O'Gara 1978). They usually occur in small bands, but large winter herds disperse in spring. Forms separate bachelor and female-kid groups in spring and summer. Males associate with females in late summer and early fall. Breeding takes place mid-September to early October in the north, and from late July to early October in south.

In winter, northern populations depend heavily on browse, especially sagebrush; forbs are most important in summer. Southern populations use more forbs and less browse. They also take grasses, and, in some areas, cacti.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The original decline in numbers of Pronghorn was most likely due to hunting, combined with a drastic reduction of available habitat due to habitat loss from agricultural, urban, and mining expansion onto historic lands; fencing across routes of seasonal movements; removal of native vegetation by rangeland rehabilitation projects; and heavy livestock grazing (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1998). However, effective law enforcement, and habitat and wildlife management techniques during the mid-1900s helped Pronghorn stage a remarkable recovery (Yoakum 1968).

Today, there are no major range-wide threats, although localized declines are taking place, particularly to the Sonoran Pronghorn, mainly as a result of, among others, livestock grazing, the construction of roads, fences and other barriers that pose barriers to historical habitat, illegal hunting (mainly in Mexico), insufficient forage and water, and lack of recruitment (see U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1998 for review). Pronghorn usually inhabit large expanses of contiguous habitat and once such regions become fragmented beyond some threshold, use by Pronghorn generally decreases.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Populations of the Sonoran Pronghorn in Arizona and Mexico are protected under the US Endangered Species Act (since 1967), and a recovery plan for this subspecies has been prepared by USFWS (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1998). Mexican animals are listed on CITES Appendix I. Pronghorns have game-animal status in all of the western states of the United States, and permits are required to trap or shoot pronghorns.

This species occurs in a number of large and well-managed protected areas, including Yellowstone National Park.

Bibliography [top]

Grubb, P. 2005. Artiodactyla. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed), pp. 637-722. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA.

Janis, C. M. and Scott, K. M. 1987. The interrelationships of high ruminant families with special emphasis on the members of the Cervoidea. American Museum Novitates 2893: 1-85.

O'Gara, B. W. 1978. Antilocapra americana. Mammalian Species 90: 1-7.

O'Gara, B. W. 1999. Antilocapra americana. In: D. E. Wilson and S. Ruff (eds), The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals, pp. 339-341. UBC Press, Canada.

Tomich, P. Q. 1986. Mammals in Hawai'i. A synopsis and notational bibliography. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, HI, USA.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1998. Final Revised Sonoran Pronghorn Recovery Plan (Antilocapra americana sonoriensis). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

Yoakum, J. 1968. A review of the distribution and abundance of American pronghorn antelope. Antelope States Workshop, Casper Wyoming 3: 4-14.


Citation: Hoffmann, M., Byers, J. & Beckmann, J. 2008. Antilocapra americana. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 November 2014.
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