KTSM Goes Wild: El Paso Zoo introduces male pronghorn to help increase population

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The El Paso Zoo is working on bringing awareness to the peninsula pronghorn population and to increase the population of this endangered sub-species of pronghorn.

Recently, Enrique, a male pronghorn from the Phoenix Zoo, was added to the exhibit at the El Paso Zoo to help increase the population of the peninsula pronghorns, which are mainly from the Baja California area. Mason Kleist, a zookeeper at the El Paso Zoo, said they are the most endangered sub-species of pronghorn, with only 150 individuals left in the wild.

“It’s super important for zoos, like us, to keep the genetic diversity. So, getting Enrique, the male, in from the Phoenix Zoo is huge for us,” said Kleist.

At the El Paso Zoo, Enrique is now the only male among six other females in the exhibit.

“If we have multiple males, they fight over territories and females, of course. But in the wild, it is pretty normal to see multiple males in a bigger herd. Smaller harems, they are called, so a male will dominate about 6 or 7 in a certain harem and the females will go to each one to test out each male to see which one they want to breed with,” Kleist said.

Kleist said pronghorns are the second-fastest land mammal on the planet, reaching up to top speeds of 60 mph.

“They are a very skittish and aware species, aware of their surroundings. You’ll see they have white rumps. So what you’ll see is if they get spooked, their white rumps will go up and that releases a pheromone to the rest of the herd. Also, they have incredible eyesight. They can see the other white rumps go into the air and that will alert them for predators,” he said.

You can help to raise awareness of the pronghorn population by donating to the Pronghorn Project in Baja Mexico.

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