I'm BACK from an overdue R & R vacation which required all gadgets to be gone, a book, some light birding, and some healthy hikes. And I feel much much better. This past week I was in the middle of nowhere-ville and surrounded by bears. It was an amazing time. I'll be back catching up with everyone again. But back to this post! So I've waited a long time to find these amazing creatures and on our day of birding, it would happen. It was truly one of the most exciting finds of the day. The Sonoran Pronghorn.
Ranchers settled Arizona lands in the early 1900's and wiped out the Pronghorn from our grasslands as cattle took over and established themselves around this land. Fences were placed all around these massive grassland properties and blocked many of the routes for these animals in Southern Arizona. Put up a border fence and it was even more difficult for the species to enter and leave the country. The Pronghorn and Jaguar almost completely disappeared. In 2002, drought and habitat loss reduced the pronghorn to only 21. At that point, a captive breeding program began and US Fish and Wildlife intervened to prevent their extinction.
The habitat of the Arizona Pronghorn Antelope are prairies and grasslands and are most abundant in the North Central plains of the state. Herds are often seen just north of Prescott Valley and those that travel on Interstate 17 can frequently see herds in the wild between Cordes Junction and the edges of Camp Verde, Arizona. They also inhabit the high elevation meadows between forested areas in East Central areas of Arizona. There is a sub-species of "Sonoran Pronghorn" that are on the endangered list that exist in small numbers in the desert areas of Southwestern Arizona. Antelope are grazing animals primarily feeding on grasses, weeds, cactus and small Juniper Pine.