Jim Capps lead Interpreter in the Colorado River District, of Rocky Mountain National Park reported seeing a pronghorn antelope in Harbison Meadows on June 12, 2002 at 1120 hours. Several people observed the antelope and its identity was confirmed. Sex of the antelope was unknown. Checking the park files and wildlife observation database, there has never been an observation of a pronghorn since the park was established in 1915. David Armstrong in his book Rocky Mountain Mammals reports, "It's early status in the area is poorly known. North Park remains a stronghold for the pronghorn and Middle Park was once prime range. Milton Estes in his memoirs of the early 1860s, mentioned the pronghorn among game species hunted about Estes Park for sale in Denver markets." Jim Capps reports that in the past pronghorn have been commonly observed not too far south of the park in sagebrush habitat. Our park wildlife observation file has two other observations of pronghorn but both were outside the park. One was in 1956 at the junction of Highway 34 and CO 280 and another observation is from 1994 with a report of a pronghorn just south of the park. Kudos to Jim for recording a first occurrence of an animal in the history of the park.
Perhaps due to the drought, pronghorn and other unusual animals may be moving into higher elevation areas in search of food. You may be the next person to see a species for the first time in the park. If you would like to know what mammals have been reported from the park, please visit our Mammals Reported from Rocky Mountain National Park page. Report any strange or unusual observations to the Resource Management and Research Division of Rocky Mountain National Park.