Yellowstone National Park Wildlife
Pronghorn Antelope

The Pronghorn Antelope, the sole surviving member of the Antilocapradae family, derives its name from its uncanny similarity to the African antelope. With its long, upright horns, slender body and ability to process oxygen at an extraordinarily high rate, it is uniquely built for speed.

The Pronghorn antelopes of Yellowstone.The Pronghorn antelopes of Yellowstone typically live in grasslands of the park. Photo courtesy of Brenda Mitchell Photograpy.

Considered the fastest land animal in North America, the pronghorn can reach speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour - a stealth advantage when eluding predators. But its true gift is its endurance. Unlike the cheetah, which is considered as sprinter, the pronghorn can cruise comfortably at 30 miles per hour for long distances at a time.

But speed and agility has still not assured the pronghorn's survival. According to the National Park Service, less than 1,000 pronghorn currently migrate through the Yellowstone area. Researchers estimate that as many as 40,000 once roamed North America. Even though pronghorn is extremely adaptable animal to climate and can be found in open grasslands, deserts and brush lands from Canada to Mexico, the pronghorn's numbers remain low. Yellowstone's protected parklands have helped stem the dwindling numbers.

Unlike most horned animals, the pronghorn sheds and regrows its horns each year. Primarily tan or brown in color with a white belly and chest, pronghorn normally weighs around 135 lbs. It tends to graze alone or in small numbers, but can often be seen in herds during the winter.

The pronghorn favors the hillsides and flats near North Gate. The area between Mammoth Hot Springs and Gardiner, Montana is a favorite grazing area, as are Lamar Valley and Specimen Ridge, in the northeastern area of the park.

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