6 Sonoran pronghorn sent to Mexico from breeding program in Arizona

By Kendal Blust
Published: Thursday, December 29, 2022 - 2:13pm
Updated: Thursday, December 29, 2022 - 2:16pm

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Sonoran pronghorn
Gobierno de Sonora
Six Sonoran pronghorn captured in Arizona were translocated to Sonora's El Pinacate biosphere reserve in December.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has relocated six endangered Sonoran pronghorn antelope from Arizona to Sonora as part of a collaborative breeding program meant to rebuild a healthy population of the species.

The Sonoran pronghorn were among several captured in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Ajo in mid-December. Three males and three females were selected to be sent to the El Pinacate biosphere reserve in northern Sonora and were transferred there by the Yuma Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Sonoran officials called it a repatriation in return for six Sonoran pronghorn Mexico sent to Arizona 20 years ago as part of a semi-captive breeding program. At the time, the species’ population in the state had dipped to just 21. Now, there are about 400 in the Arizona and an estimated 450 in the United States.

Sonoran pronghorn are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, severe drought associated with climate change and illegal hunting, according to officials.

The six relocated pronghorn are currently being quarantined in near the reserve and are expected to be released in early January with GPS collars to track and monitor them.