Pronghorn Antelopes Are the True Marathoners of the American West


photo: W.B. Karesh

Modern technology came in handy for several scientists tracking the marathon migration of pronghorn antelopes. Using GPS collars, the scientists were able to follow the species in what is being called the longest migration of any land mammal in the Western Hemisphere.
Scientists have been tracking a beautiful herd of nearly 1,000 pronghorns that are migrating from Idaho's Pioneers Mountains across the state. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the roundtrip route totals 160 miles.


photo: WCS
"This study shows that pronghorn are the true marathoners of the American West," said Scott Bergen, project director for WCS. "With these new findings, we can confirm that Idaho supports a major overland mammal migration - something that is becoming increasingly rare in the U.S. and worldwide."

Threats to the Pronghorn Migration
As an animal that consistently travels far distances, habitat destruction presents an acute threat to the survivial prospects of the pronghorn. Poor land use can fragment the pronghorn's migration pattern and adversely affect the species' natural cycles.

In response to this impending threat, WCS is collaborating with ranchers, conservationists, and land managers to protect the pronghorn's migration route across Idaho. Kristen wrote that identifying bottlenecks in migratory routes is key to preserving migratory patterns. Bottleneck areas can sometimes be only a few miles wide, so it's critical to control development in these small tracts of land in order to avoid completely destroying a natural migration pattern where no potential alternative route exists.

More: WCS
More on Important Animal Migrations:
Mass Migrations From Climate Change Forecast by Report
Massive Herds of Animals Discovered Flourishing in Southern Sudan
Providing a Means of Escape for Wildlife