Wildlife Management - Trials and Tribulations of the Pronghorn
Protecting the "Peculiar Game Animal"
The Boone and Crockett Club hoped that the pronghorn at the Game Preserve could: be used to furnish stock for other national game preserves, and insure the perpetuation of this most interesting and peculiar American game animal. In 1918, with nine additional pronghorn sent to the preserve the total population was 23.
Life and Death Challenges
Even with additional animals, Chambers had trouble keeping the pronghorn alive. In a note to Washington, he stated: The antelope are not doing well.. . have plenty of feed, and am doing everything that I can ...
By 1924, the population was down to 6 animals. A memo from Washington advised that all efforts should be made to protect the remaining antelope and ridding the preserve of predatory animals. Chambers took this advise seriously: before we give up the idea of raising antelope we should do everything that we can to combat the predatory animal situation.
The Struggle Continues
The pronghorn population has fluctuated dramatically throughout the park’s history. In 1964, with more than 300 pronghorn in the park, seventy-five were herded in to Custer State Park. In 1998, fifteen pronghorn left the park during a snow storm, bringing their number to fewer than 30. Research continues today on these “curious little animals” in an attempt to ensure their existence within Wind Cave National Park.
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