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Arizona agency relocates part of antelope herd 300 miles south

(Arizona Gaming and Fish Department Photo)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department said Wednesday that it relocated part of a pronghorn antelope herd near Prescott Valley last week.

The agency said a herd of 100 pronghorn had been roaming the Glassford Hill area, but development was getting in their way.

“Our mission at Game and Fish is to conserve and protect all of Arizona’s wildlife,” Erin Butler, terrestrial wildlife program manager for the agency’s Kingman office, said in a press release.

“With a four-lane, divided highway to the north, an encroaching subdivision to the east, another housing community under construction to the west, and more development to the south, this particular herd needs our help.”

A new home for pronghorn

Houses are rapidly replacing grassland habitat used by the Glassford Hill pronghorn herd. That's why the Arizona Game and Fish Department, in partnership with the Arizona Antelope Foundation (AAF) and local private landowners, reduced the size of the herd by translocating about 45 pronghorn into prime habitat in southern Arizona. Our goal is that translocating these pronghorn will increase their long-term chances of survival while boosting and adding genetic diversity to existing populations in the southeast portion of the state.

Posted by Arizona Game & Fish Department on Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The agency partnered with the Arizona Antelope Foundation and private landowners to use a helicopter to round up 45 antelope and fit them with identification tags and GPS trackers.

They then transported the antelope 300 miles south to sites near Bonita, Altar Valley and San Bernardino Valley, where they joined a herd of about 100.

Conservation groups have worked to make that area a suitable habitat for the antelope by clearing 22,000 acres of mesquite, modifying 35 miles of fencing and adding 15 water troughs.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department said the antelopes are the fastest land animals in North America. They can reach top speeds of 55 mph and coast at 30 mph.

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