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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

We salute the Marines with Corps Air station outside Yuma, Arizona as they work alongside biologists to expand the herd of 14 Sonoran Pronghorn occupying the Barry M. Goldwater Range..........The hope is that the 6 to 8 additional animals will merge with the existing herd and infuse new genes and therefore life into 20% of the species still exisitng in the wild.............Well done Corpsmen!

Marines assist in saving endangered species

  by Cpl. Aaron Diamant;
Marines assist in saving endangered species
Marines with Marine Corps Air Station Yuma's Range Maintenance section aid wildlife biologists from the Arizona Department of Game and Fish and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in building a temporary holding pen on the Barry M. Goldwater Range, Nov. 19. The pen will hold six to eight of the endangered Sonoran Pronghorn after they are relocated to the area in December. The animals will remain in the pen long enough to recover from the sedatives they'll be given before being flown to the location, which will keep them safe from the predators in the area.
YUMA, Ariz. - When asking why people joined the Corps, you'd be hard pressed to find someone answer, "To save endangered animals." But, seven Marines helped do just that, Nov. 19.

Marines from Range Maintenance helped biologists from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground and the Arizona Department of Game and Fish build an enclosure on the Barry M. Goldwater Range that will be used to temporarily house six to eight Sonoran Pronghorn antelope being moved to the area.

The Sonoran Pronghorn is an endangered desert subspecies of the antelope family found in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. Approximately 100 Sonoran Pronghorn are believed to remain in the wild in the United States. There is also a small population held in a captive breeding program on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Arizona. There are believed to be approximately 650 pronghorn in Mexico.

The Sonoran Pronghorn has been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1967.

The U.S. population very nearly died out in 2002, when a 13-month drought wiped out all but 21 animals. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intervened to prevent extinction by providing water
and forage and initiating a captive breeding program.

The animals will be moved to the Western BMGR, where biologists hope they will merge with the herd of approximately 14 pronghorn already in the area. The animals are currently in a captive breeding pen in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, said John Hervert, a Game and Fish wildlife program manager.

The animals will be captured, vaccinated and fitted with radio collars before being relocated and released into the wild. The radio collars will assist the biologists in tracking and learning more about the patterns and habits of the herds, as well as help evaluate other programs such as man-made watering holes and supplemental feeding programs the department takes part in to assist the recovery of the endangered species.

The temporary enclosure will be used to keep the Sonoran Pronghorn safe from predators such as coyote while they recover from being sedated for their helicopter flight from Ajo to their new
home. They may spend as much as two weeks in their large pen, with plenty of available water and both natural and supplemental feed sources.

"It's not every day you get to help out an endangered species," said Cpl. Lucas Hayes, a combat engineer who helped build the enclosure. "It's pretty cool."

Biologists and ecologists are hoping that by spreading out the population of the pronghorn, they will increase the range and population.

"Our ultimate goal is, of course, to get the pronghorn population to the point they can be taken off the endangered species list," said Bobby Law, station biologist.

For visitors to the BMGR, don't expect to see large herds of them roaming anytime soon. The animal is so elusive, they are sometimes referred to as the "Prairie Ghosts."

With the hard work and dedication of so many federal and state agencies as well as local Yuma-based Marines and civilians, maybe the Sonoran Pronghorn will stage a comeback. For now, we can only hope and keep working to that end.


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