KUOW: Yakama Nation reintroduces pronghorns to reservation

"TOPPENISH, Wash. – Pronghorn antelope are back in Washington state. Lewis and Clark spotted the sagebrush speedsters as the explorers crossed the Columbia Basin on their way to the Pacific. But subsequent settlement was not kind to America's only antelope. It disappeared from Washington more than a hundred years ago. Bringing the cute animals back to the Yakama Indian reservation has proven surprisingly controversial.

98 pronghorn antelope have a new home on the range. Citizen volunteers and Yakama tribal members captured the antelope in northern Nevada in mid-January. A convoy transported the animals to south-central Washington. They were set loose into the night in the poetically named Horse Heaven Hills.

Gina King: "It was worrisome when we released them two coyote packs calling. Arlen started singing and they were singing back. The safari club members were looking at each other."

That's Yakama Nation wildlife program manager Gina King. We'll meet Arlen in a minute. No coyotes have managed to catch North America's fastest land mammal yet. King's own staff needs help keeping up with the antelope too. They fitted some of the relocated pronghorns with radio tracking collars.

The caramel colored pronghorns graze and play on treeless hillsides. Their white flanks match the snow-capped peak of Mt. Adams in the distance. Big game biologist Jim Stephenson postponed retirement in part so he could see this postcard pretty scene."

Get the Story:
Reintroduced Antelope Become Controversial On Central WA Reservation (KUOW 2/14)

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