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AJO, Arizona: In late December 2011, the Sonoran Pronghorn Recovery Team (SPRT) plans to release captive-bred, endangered Sonoran pronghorn (Antilocapra americana sonoriensis) into Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The release will take place from a temporary holding pen located in the northwestern part of Organ Pipe Cactus NM near Bates Well Road. The release will be managed jointly by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service, with assistance from other members of the SPRT. The Sonoran pronghorn to be released will come from the Sonoran Pronghorn Semi-Captive Breeding Facility (SPSCBF), located on Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.
This release represents a milestone in Sonoran pronghorn recovery. The SPSCBF, established in 2004, reached full production capacity in 2009 and 2010. Most releases of captive-bred pronghorn in previous years took place near the SPSCBF. This 2011 release into Organ Pipe Cactus NM will be the first time large numbers of pronghorn (up to 13) will be released at some distance from the SPSCBF. The intent of the release is to supplement the wild population of pronghorn in the area of Organ Pipe, and adjacent portions of Cabeza Prieta NWR and Bureau of Land Management lands. The specific site for the release was chosen because it allows pronghorn access to high-quality habitat, while avoiding temporary construction in designated Wilderness. The release will not affect public or agency access or operations.