Sonoran pronghorn

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Sonoran pronghorn
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Antilocapridae
Genus: Antilocapra
A. a. sonoriensis
Trinomial name
Antilocapra americana sonoriensis
Goldman, 1945
Sign along the El Camino Del Diablo at the eastern entrance to Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, providing information about the animal

The Sonoran pronghorn (Antilocapra americana sonoriensis) is an endangered subspecies of pronghorn that is endemic to the Sonoran Desert.[1]


Around 200 animals currently are believed to exist in the United States, up from an estimated 21 individuals in 2002.[2]

In 2012, announcements of two reintroductions were published in the Federal Register. One of the reintroductions was to take place at the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range (BMGR) in Yuma, Arizona, and the second was to be at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.[3]

Obstacles to recovery[edit]

There are numerous and ongoing threats to the survival of the Sonoran pronghorn. Not the least of these threats is the fact that much of their habitat is occupied by the BMGR, which is an active United States Air Force bombing range.

Adjacent to the BMGR is the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (CPNWR), also a critical breeding area for this species. Parts of the CPNWR are off-limits to visitors between mid-March and mid-July, during the fawning season, so as to minimize disturbance to herds containing fawns, which can result in the loss of fawns.[4] Despite this fact, this area too is subject to constant environmental pressure. The accompaniments of illegal trafficking of people and drugs from Mexico (such as the construction of illegal roads and trails, reckless disposal of trash, destruction of vegetation and contamination of water sources) have significantly degraded the habitat. The response from law enforcement agencies (such as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Drug Enforcement Administration) has also exacerbated this problem.[5][6]

Mortality in Sonoran Pronghorn[edit]

Living in open areas pronghorn in general must rely on their eyesight to avoid predators, and with population numbers so low the Sonoran Pronghorn must avoid mortality at all costs. Sources of mortality come from; predators, drought, and lack of feed, these sources usually affect fawns most often, adult mortality also occurs in drought situations. Controlling this situation is very difficult because drought is at the hand of the weather, things that can be done are predator control on coyotes and bobcats, but this is yet to be studied with enough detail to be proven effective.[7]


The Sonoran Pronghorn is endemic to the Sonoran Desert, similar to the species pronghorn the habitat is the same. They live in open spaces and primarily forage for food, that means forbs and grass are key habitat features for them. Another key feature for the habitat of this area is water, being a desert water is very hard to come by and is essential for survival of pronghorn. As discussed in the mortality section water can cause many problems with nutrition and survival if it is not present.


  1. ^ Antelope Specialist Group (1996). "Antilocapra americana ssp. sonoriensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2006. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2007-06-20.
  2. ^ Recovery program working for pronghorn, Arthur H. Rotstein, Boston Globe/AP, 14 May 2007.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (2013). "Fawning Season". Ajo, Arizona: United States Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2014-12-28.
  5. ^ Slivka, J (2003-10-30). "Border Crime Ravaging Parks In Arizona In 'Smugglers Crescent,' Public Is Losing Out As Rangers Are Forced To Act As Border Police". The Arizona Republic. Phoenix, Arizona. Retrieved 2014-12-28. Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, southeast of Yuma, has more crimes per visitor than any other piece of public land in the West.
  6. ^ Ingley, K (2005-05-15). "Ghost highways - Arizona desert scarred by illegal immigration traffic". The Arizona Republic. Phoenix, Arizona. Retrieved 2014-12-28. Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, southeast of Yuma, has more crimes per visitor than any other piece of public land in the West.
  7. ^ Jill L.Bright and John J.Hervert (2005). "Adult and fawn mortality of Sonoran pronghorn." Wildlife Society Bulletin. 43(1), 43-50.

Further reading[edit]