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New Mexico Transplants 277 Pronghorns

March 26, 2010.

From the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish:

The Department of Game and Fish captured 277 pronghorn antelope this month on private land in northeastern New Mexico and relocated them to Mexico, Santa Ana Pueblo, a ranch near Grants, and Bureau of Land Management property near San Antonio Mountain.

The trapping operation allowed the Department to augment existing herds while removing animals that had been damaging alfalfa fields on the Smith Ranch between Springer and Clayton. The pronghorns sent to Mexico were part of an exchange in which New Mexico will receive desert bighorn sheep rams to expand the gene pool in the captive herd at Red Rock Wildlife Area.

Thirty-three of the captured pronghorns were released on Santa Ana Pueblo, 25 went to the Floyd Lee Ranch near Grants and 72 went to BLM land near San Antonio Mountain. Mexico received 147 pronghorns and they were transplanted in three areas: 68 to Valle Columbia, Coahuila, 55 to Rancho Pilares, Coahuila, and 24 to Rincon de la Madera, Nuevo Leon.

A helicopter was used to herd the antelope into a large funnel trap, a technique developed by the Department in the 1930s, when crews herded the animals with horses and automobiles. More than 60 people were involved in the capture March 8-10. The effort included erecting four miles of fencing, some of which will remain on the ranch as a permanent barrier to keep pronghorns off the alfalfa fields.

Department wildlife biologists and participating veterinarians said they were pleased with an extremely low mortality rate during the operation. Only eight pronghorns died as a result of injuries or stress from  trapping and transit operations. Each animal received a health check, ear tags and some were fitted with radio collars before they were transported in trailers to their new homes.


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