History of pronghorn population monitoring, research, and management in Yellowstone National Park

Final Report



Pronghorn antelope in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) persist in a small population that historically has experienced recurrent, sometimes dramatic declines. They apparently are isolated from other pronghorns, depend partly on private lands for winter range, experience heavy predation of fawns, and concentrate during winter in a relatively small area, thereby increasing their vulnerability to factors like disease or locally extreme weather. Overall, the situation raises serious concerns about the long-term viability of this population. Although such concerns are not new, evidence of a dramatic population decline since 1991 and continued poor recruitment has created a renewed sense of urgency.

Recent efforts to revitalize pronghorn research in YNP began with fawn recruitment and habitat use studies, initiated in 1999 and 2000. With those studies drawing to a close, YNP is reviewing the status and direction of its pronghorn program. The Yellowstone Pronghorn Conservation Assessment Workshop was convened in YNP in January, 2002, to appraise the current state of knowledge about this pronghorn population and make recommendations about future management and research needs. A review of pronghorn population change, management, and research in YNP was commissioned in May, 2001, to provide historical background for workshop participants. Following is a written summary of that review.

The process of locating materials for this review was limited to 3 months. Not all relevant materials were discovered or reviewed in that time. In particular, it was not possible to find and review all original sources of information. Also, except for occasional anecdotal accounts, weather records were not reviewed, leaving a potentially serious gap in our understanding of the forces driving changes in pronghorn population counts and estimates 2

over time. Despite these deficiencies, considerable information was reviewed, earlier summaries of population classification and count data were updated, and previously uncited sources of information were identified that challenge important aspects of previous interpretations of the history of pronghorns and pronghorn management in YNP. Information is grouped into 4 major subject areas: distribution and habitat use, demographics and management, genetics, and disease.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Unnumbered Series
Title History of pronghorn population monitoring, research, and management in Yellowstone National Park
Series title Final Report
DOI 10.3133/70159756
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
Description 70 p.
Public Comments Final report submitted in fulfillment of: NPS Agreement #1443-IA-1248-01-006 USGS Agreement # 1-3303-IA05
Country United States
State Wyoming
Other Geospatial Yellowstone National Park
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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