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As in the Giraffidae , skin covers the bony cores, but in the pronghorn, it develops into a keratinous sheath which is shed and regrown annually. Unlike the horns of the family Bovidae , the horn sheaths of the pronghorn are branched, each sheath having a forward-pointing tine hence the name pronghorn.
Males have a horn sheath about Females have smaller horns that range from 2. Pronghorns have a distinct, musky odor. Males mark territory with a preorbital scent gland which is on the sides of the head.
Unlike deer , pronghorns possess a gallbladder. Additionally, pronghorn hooves have two long, cushioned, pointed toes which help absorb shock when running at high speeds. Pronghorns are built for speed, not for jumping.
However, they can be seen going under fences, sometimes at high speed. They eat a wide variety of plant foods, often including plants unpalatable or toxic to domestic livestock sheep and cattle , though they also compete with them for food. Healthy pronghorn populations tend to stay within 5. With these new findings, we can confirm that Idaho supports a major overland mammal migration - an increasingly rare phenomenon in the U.
Golden eagles have been reported to prey on fawns and adults. Social behavior and reproduction[ edit ] Herd of pronghorns Pronghorns form mixed-sex herds in the winter. In early spring, the herds break up, with young males forming bachelor groups, females forming their groups, and adult males living solitarily.
Females form dominance hierarchies with few circular relationships.
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Fawn juvenile in New Mexico Adult males either defend a fixed territory that females may enter, or defend a harem of females. A pronghorn may change mating strategies depending on environmental or demographic conditions. If intimidation fails, they lock horns and try to injure each other. They breed in mid-September, and the doe carries her fawn until late May.
This gestation period is around six weeks longer than that of the white-tailed deer. Females usually bear within a few days of each other. In their first 21—26 days, fawns spend time hiding in vegetation. Their lifespan is typically up to 10 years, rarely 15 years.
Fisher , Secretary of the Interior, Grinnell stated, "The Club is much concerned about the fate of the pronghorn which appears to be everywhere rapidly diminishing.
In , Grinnell spearheaded efforts along with the help of T. About acres of land were jointly purchased by the two organizations and subsequently turned over to the Biological Survey as a pronghorn refuge. On June 20, , President Hoover included the required public lands upon request of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior after learning that the Boone and Crockett Club and the National Audubon Society were underwriting the private land buyout.
On January 26, , Hoover signed the executive order for the refuge. On December 31, , president Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order creating a ,acre tract; this was the true beginning for pronghorn recovery in North America.
Pronghorn migration corridors are threatened by habitat fragmentation and the blocking of traditional routes. In a migration study conducted by Lava Lake Institute for Science and Conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Society, at one point, the migration corridor bottlenecks to an area only yards wide. They are legally hunted in western states for purposes of population control and food. No major range-wide threats exist, although localized declines are taking place, particularly to the Sonoran pronghorn, mainly as a result of, among others, livestock grazing, the construction of roads, fences, and other barriers that prevent access to historical habitat, illegal hunting, insufficient forage and water, and lack of recruitment.
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Populations of the Sonoran pronghorn in Arizona and Mexico are protected under the Endangered Species Act since , and a recovery plan for this subspecies has been prepared by U.
Fish and Wildlife Service. Pronghorns have game-animal status in all of the western states of the United States, and permits are required to trap or shoot pronghorns.