Image # 157
Pronghorn Antelope at the National Bison Range in Montana. Unique to North America, Pronghorn Antelopes are the fastest terrestrial mammals on the continent, clocked at speeds of over 50 miles per hour. Highly visual, they can sense motion from over four miles away and signal danger by flashing the white hairs on their rumps. Well adapted to their grassland and desert habitats, pronghorns eat sagebrush, weeds, cacti and grasses and survive harsh winters by digging out snow
covered vegetation with their front hooves.
Before the arrival of European settlers, an estimated 35 million antelope roamed the North American prairies and sagebrush plains. By the early 1900's, fewer than 20,000 remained. Concerned naturalists and sportsmen successfully lobbied for the establishment of protected breeding grounds and helped save both the pronghorn and bison from extinction. Pronghorns can now be seen in much of their original range but remain vulnerable to habitat fragmentation caused by roads, fences and land development.