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.


 
 

 

News Briefs January 23, 2015

VH1 concert VH1 and sponsors supporting the event are hosting a Super Bowl Blitz concert featuring Fall Out Boy and Charli XCX at 5 p.m. Jan. 30 in Hangar 999 as a “Thank you” to those who serve in the U.S. military. Members of the Luke community are invited and the concert is free. Service...
 
 
Courtesy Photo

Civilian answers AF call, gets dream job

Courtesy Photo Senior Airman Kristina Inocencio, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron engineer technician, measures the distance from the tree to the building Jan. 15 during survey training at Luke Air Force Base. One of Inocencio’s ...
 
 

Justice Report

The following is a list of administrative actions issued at Luke Air Force Base in December 2014. Articles 15 56th Maintenance Group • An airman 1st class received an Article 15 for failing to perform duties due to overindulgence in liquor. The member received a suspended reduction in rank to airman, forfeiture of $300 pay...
 

 

News Briefs January 16, 2015

NFL Pro Bowl practice at Luke Jan. 22 The NFL’s all-star game, the Pro Bowl, will host a practice at Luke Air Force Base’s football field near the South Gate Jan. 22. Team Carter, led by Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter is scheduled to practice from 10 to 11 a.m. The second practice...
 
 
Airman Pedro Mota

Nellis aggressors bring ‘fight’ to Luke

Airman Pedro Mota Lt. Col. Kevin Gordon, 64th AGRS commander, prepares for launch in aggressors training at Luke.   You want results? Then train like it. The 64th Aggressor Squadron from Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, came...
 
 
MLK-150108-F-EC705-018

MLK: Reflections of the man

Kassandra Mia Rodriguez, 10, speaks to the audience during the MLK luncheon. Rodriguez was the 5th Grade winner of the poetry contest held at Luke Elementary School in honor of MLK Day. Posters were created in the kindergarten ...
 




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