Nature

Unusual Animals Called Pronghorns On the Rise in Texas

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Reporting Texas explains that in the classic tune “Home on the Range,” the lyrics “where the deer and the antelope play” are actually referring to pronghorns, not African-dwelling antelope. Why haven’t we heard more about the mysterious creatures called pronghorns? By the early 1900s, the population was nearly nonexistent, but through conservation efforts they made a comeback. Another dip in their population occurred a few years ago, but thankfully, its rising once again.

Sul Ross University’s Borderlands Research Institute’s leader, Louis Harveson, told Reporting Texas, “The pronghorn is really part of our history. It’s something that’s been here longer than man has. They’re an indicator of habitat and the health of the ecosystem. If we lose pronghorn, what are we going to lose next? Where do we draw that line in the sand?”

By combining forces with landowners, wildlife agencies and veterinarians in West Texas, the pronghorn population has already doubled in only four years. What makes these animals so special? Other than their unique looks, pronghorns are our fastest land mammal reaching 55 miles per hour. They only reach about three feet tall at the shoulder, and according to National Geographic, “Both sexes sport impressive, backward-curving horns. The horns split to form forward-pointing prongs that give the species its name. Some animals have horns that are more than a foot (30 centimeters) long.”

Thankfully, Texans are taking great measures to keep these amazing creatures at home on the range.