Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Mike Christensen | Courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists are attempting to capture and relocate a herd of roughly 80 pronghorn “trapped” in the urban sprawl of Saratoga Springs. Twenty-seven pronghorn have been captured with a drop net and moved west to an area near Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge.
Trapped in Saratoga Springs, pronghorn will be relocated
Wildlife » Development near Utah Lake created an inadvertent sanctuary.
First Published Feb 16 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Feb 16 2014 09:41 am

Pronghorn are the fastest land mammal in North America, capable of reaching speeds of around 50 mph. The problem for a Utah County herd of the mammals — commonly but incorrectly called antelope — is that the only place to run that fast is packed with traffic.

Utah wildlife officials are attempting to capture and relocate a herd of roughly 80 pronghorn "trapped" in the suburban sprawl of Saratoga Springs.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Pronghorn ran along the west shore of Utah Lake long before people started building homes, schools and convenience stores. Development eventually surrounded some of the animals. The pronghorn adapted to their new neighbors and, with natural predators out of the picture, started to increase in numbers.

"We kind of created a sanctuary where they couldn’t be hunted and they didn’t feel enough pressure to move out," said Covy Jones, wildlife program manager with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR).

Wildlife biologists have kept an eye on the pronghorn, not typically considered an urban species, and counted as many as 83 this past summer.

Concerns for public safety from wildlife/vehicle collisions — the herd has been found near the busy intersection of Redwood Road and State Highway 73 — and depredation worries from the few remaining farmers in the area led to relocation efforts.

Jones said some concerned farmers called to say "they cringed" every time they drove a tractor by the animals because it usually spooked the herd and sent them running in the direction of the busy roads.

DWR workers recently set up a drop net and then baited the ground underneath, hoping to draw the pronghorn in. They then deployed a remote switch to let the net fall.

Recent warm weather made the job difficult, because melting snow exposed plants germinating early and the pronghorn were feeding in open fields.

The first successful netting on Feb. 5 captured 11 animals. A second effort earlier last week turned up another 17.


story continues below
story continues below

The captured pronghorn were transported west and released near Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge.

"Saratoga Springs might seem like the perfect place for them to be, but it really isn’t and it is likely to become less suitable for them in the coming years," Jones said. "We are moving them to their natural habitat and with wide open space."

Jones said efforts to capture and relocate the entire herd will continue as conditions allow.

brettp@sltrib.com

Twitter: @BrettPrettyman



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.