Colvilles Release More Than 50 Pronghorn On Reservation

Dozens more Nevada pronghorns have been released in Washington, this time on the Colville Reservation.

The Tribal Tribune reports 52 were recently let loose on the southwestern side of the sprawling North-central Washington reservation, the second on the Eastside to receive the native species.

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“It’s all about restoration,” Richard Whitney, the Tribes’ Fish and Wildlife Program manager told the paper. “This is a primary goal of the wildlife program, to restore native and desired non-native species to the Colville Indian Reservation. Also, these animals won’t directly compete with elk, deer or moose. There are slight overlaps in habitat use between mule deer and pronghorn, but their diets are slightly different.”

Nearly 80 percent wear telemetry collars to follow their movements. They were released on rangelands between Omak Lake and Brewster.

The reintroduction means Okanogan County — already home to seven species of grouse, the most of any county in the US — likely has more kinds of game critters than any other in the state: moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, elk, mule deer, whitetail, black bear, cougar, coyotes, wolves, lynx, wolverines, the ocassional griz and now antelope.

It was five Januaries ago that almost 100 “speedgoats” were released on the Yakama Reservation, and some have since moved east and south to Kennewick and Bickleton.

A survey last February found 49 on the reservation and 57 off of it, with a total estimated minimum population of 132. Assuming that herd is still roughly the same size, Washington’s pronghorn population just grew by nearly 30 percent.

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