Scientific Name: Antilocarpa americana
Pronghorn live on the high, grassy plains of the western United States. These swift animals move in herds across vast distances and need large, open spaces to survive.
Refuges where the pronghorn can be found:
- Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge
- Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
- Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge
- San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge
- Sheldon Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex
Pronghorn once roamed the West from Canada to northern Mexico. Their numbers declined from an estimated 30- to 60-million in the early 1800s to fewer than 15,000 by 1915. A hunting moratorium and massive conservation efforts helped bring the animal back from the brink of extinction. Today there are almost 1 million pronghorn divided into five subspecies:
- American/Common found in most of range, Canada and northern Arizona
- Mexican/Chihuahuan found in New Mexico, Texas and formerly southeastern Arizona
- Oregon found in southeastern Oregon
- Peninsular found in Baja, Mexico; population less than 250
- Sonoran found at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and Sonora, Mexico; population 500; federally endangered species
Pronghorn closely resemble antelopes found in the Old World, but they are only distantly related. Their long, powerful legs help them outrun predators and propel them at speeds of as much as 60 miles an hour, making them the fastest land animals in the United States. Not only are pronghorn impressive sprinters, but they are marathoners as well. The search for suitable grazing areas takes some of these animals on annual journeys of more than 300 miles–the longest land migration in the continental United States. Despite their other athletic abilities, pronghorn cannot jump; fences and other structures impede their migrations and pose one of several threats to their survival.
What NWRA is doing:
Beyond the Boundaries: Bear River Watershed
The Bear River Watershed is located on the edge of the Great Basin in Wyoming, Idaho and Utah. Not only does this watershed provide important habitat for pronghorn, mule deer and elk; it also sustains significant numbers of migratory waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds. Learn more about what NWRA is doing to protect pronghorn and other species in the Bear River Watershed, one of our Beyond the Boundaries programs.