Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pronghorns Are Back in Washington State

I previously did a write up on pronghorns in eastern Washington HERE. A little over a week ago the Yakima Nation introduced a herd of pronghorns to the Yakima Reservation as report in the Seattle PI HERE.

The PI article is worth reading in that it gives a hint at the complexity of public policy regarding wildlife. The only quibble I have with the article is that it mentions Lewis and Clark's claim that pronghorn were in the Columbia Basin. However, Lewis and Clark never documented a single pronghorn. The Washington State Fish and Wildlife Department had studied habitat areas recently HERE. It should be noted that a hunting club funded the study. However, in this time of budget cuts WDFW was disinclined to take on the additional costs of detailed assessment of likely areas as well as managing another species.

With the help of the hunting club the Yakima Nation has introduced pronghorns to the scrub steppe of the Yakima Reservation. So pronghorns are back in Washington State. The habitat on the Yakima Reservation should be excellent for pronghorns. Perhaps other high quality habitat identified elsewhere will see pronghorns in the future. The WDFW study indicated that perhaps the best location is the Yakima Firing Center as it has a range of elevations, water available and likely is an area where deep snow would be rare.

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