Nevada and Washington Wildlife Agencies Team Up to Repopulate Native Pronghorn
In the early hours on a cold Thursday morning in January, 52 pronghorns stepped out of a trailer and onto land in the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington State. The animals had been native to these lands for some 8,000 years before disappearing in the early 1900s.
The project was several years in the making and was a partnership between the Nevada Department of Wildlife and the Colville Confederated Tribes Fish and Wildlife Department.
NDOW game biologist Jeremy Lutz reports that the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners approved the project in May of 2015.
“After months of planning, scouting and persistent snow cover, we got the green light in late January and the call was made to move forward,” said Lutz. “Representatives from the Colville Confederate Tribes, Native Range Capture Services, volunteers and NDOW personal all contributed to the successful capture of 52 antelope in less than six hours.”
Biologist from the Colville Confederated Tribes Fish and Wildlife Department will monitor the pronghorn and if deemed successful, a second transplant will be planned.
“There is no better sense of accomplishment knowing that you and the professionals that we work with helped bring back a native species into once occupied habitat,” said Lutz. “It is extremely rewarding and gratifying as a biologist to have your hand in the reintroduction process. Often times it is not the actual release that is the most gratifying but all the prep work that makes it possible to release a native species back into its natural environment. It is the pinnacle of these jobs.”
To read more about the release, check out this story by environmental reporter Linda V. Mapes from the Seattle Times.