Local

February 22, 2013

Pronghorn continue to thrive

Tags:
TERESA WALKER
56th Range Management Office

Dan Garcia, 56th Range Management Office En­vironmental Sciences chief, holds the head of a pronghorn while the marking and veterinary team members process it for relocation.

An estimated 85 percent of the U.S. population of Sonoran pronghorn died during a severe drought in 2001 and 2002. They inhabit the Barry M. Goldwater Range, an active military range.

Drastic measures were taken to sustain the remaining 21 animals and recover the species. These measures included provision of emergency water sources, developing forage enhancement plots, and building two semicaptive breeding pens, one on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge built in 2004, and another in King Valley, on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, built in 2011.

The Sonoran pronghorn is federally listed as an endangered species in 1967, is the fastest land mammal in North America, clocking speeds up to 60 miles per hour. A desert sub-species of the antelope family, the Sonoran pronghorn is smaller and lighter in color than other pronghorn subspecies and is uniquely adapted for survival in harsh desert conditions.

The Sonoran pronghorn population is currently estimated at more than 150 animals, due to the specific actions of many state and federal agencies to bring the animal back from extinction.

Aaron Alvidrez, 56th Range Management Office wildlife biologist said it’s been a long road to recovery but the results of all the labor are coming to fruition.

“A lot of hard work and teamwork is needed to implement pronghorn recovery actions,” Alvidrez said. “Through teamwork and persistence, we are beginning to see our efforts pay off.”

To minimize operational impacts and gain a better understanding of the animals, the 56th RMO goes to great lengths to ensure the safety of the animals.

Contracted biologists are used to survey and monitor for Sonoran pronghorn in known habitat areas prior to any missions taking place on the range. The pronghorn monitors establish the proximity of the animals to target arrays to ensure their safety.

When pronghorn are present, targets are closed based on their type and proximity to the animals; training and inert ordnance targets within 1 kilometer of sightings are closed for the day; and high explosive hills within 1.5 kilometers of sightings are closed for the day. Typically, scheduled missions are diverted to other targets if available, or canceled if no alternate targets are available.

The RMO employs a modified range maintenance schedule to further reduce potential effects on the Sonoran pronghorn during fawning season.

The annual Sonoran pronghorn capture and release operation in December 2012 was a success due to assistance from many agencies including Arizona Game and Fish, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Luke Air Force Base, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma; the Ajo, Yuma, and Wellton Border Patrol Sectors; Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and the Phoenix Zoo.

According to Alvidrez, the pronghorn capture and release process has evolved and the team continues to improve each year.

“For me, the captures are an exciting event with a lot of moving parts,” he said. “The use of two helicopters and a large veterinary staff helped to transport multiple animals in a relatively short time. During the three-day event, we handled more than 60 animals and reached our goal of relocating 22 target animals.”

The United States and Mexico are currently engaged in an international effort to capture and breed the Sonoran pronghorn for reintroduction into suitable habitats. Capture-breed-transplant actions are considered essential to the survival of the Sonoran pronghorn (commonly referred to as ‘antelope’) as they are one of the most endangered mammals in the world.

The BMGR is primarily used to train pilots but over the years has expanded its scope to allow some limited ground training. In land mass, the range encompasses more than 1.7 million acres, with the Air Force retaining land management responsibilities for more than a million acres on the eastern portion and the Marines approximately 700,000 acres on the western side. The range stretches from Yuma to beyond Gila Bend and from Interstate 8 south to the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.

Portions of this article were contributed by Arizona Game and Fish Department.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Airman 
PEDRO MOTA

Construction enterprise ongoing

AirmanPEDRO MOTA Some of the base upgrades and new facilities have a direct connection to the arrival of the F-35 Lightening ll joint strike fighter and Luke’s transition to training F-35 pilots. X marks the spot of one of tw...
 
 

There’s no ‘I’ in team

Have you ever heard anyone utter the statement, “there is no ‘I’ in team,” only to be followed by the usual comeback, “There is no ‘we’ either?” In either instance, the person making the statement is correct from a literal standpoint. That being said, consider this: there is not an “I” in teamwork but you...
 
 

New EPR process may change outcomes

The static close-out date for enlisted performance reports is March 31. Although this shouldn’t be a shock to anybody paying attention, it does require further review. The Air Force is undergoing a dramatic change in the way it handles its personnel. The days are gone when “Firewall 5s” are the status quo. We are headed...
 

 
3_150224-F-NQ441-034C

Know social media dangers

Today, millions of people use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share memories and keep in touch with family and friends. Unfortunately, using these media also gathers the attention of unwanted eyes...
 
 

News Briefs March 6, 2015

MPOY banquet The Luke community is invited to attend the 2014 Maintenance Professional of the Year banquet at 5 p.m. March 21 in Hangar 914. It is held to recognize the outstanding performances, achievements and professionalism of aircraft maintainers at Luke Air Force Base and Holloman AFB, New Mexico. For more information, call Tech. Sgt....
 
 
Courtesy photo

Ducks conquer Ragnar Del Sol

Courtesy photo Members of the 309th Fighter Squadron Wild Ducks cross the finish line Feb. 28 in Mesa. The more than 200-mile-long Ragnar race is held every year starting in Wickenburg and runs through the night until the race ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin