Active Radio Collars
Overall Project Goal:
This study aims to understand pronghorn movement and resource selection, identify migration corridors and critical ranges, and evaluate spatiotemporal distributions and survival of adult pronghorn. By doing so, we hope to better inform management decisions and help guide the development of strategies to conserve pronghorn while protecting the assets of Nebraska’s ranchers and landowners.
Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) populations have fluctuated drastically since the early 1900s due to shifts in land use resulting from westward expansion across the United States. Today, pronghorn in Nebraska roam the western part of the state to the Sandhills, the eastern most edge of the species’ current range. Observations from wildlife managers, farmers, and ranchers indicate that, while capable of migrating vast distances, pronghorn along the edge of their range tend to move less and often occupy cropland. With 92% of Nebraska land being used for agricultural production, it is important to understand how pronghorn navigate this ever-changing landscape.
In February 2021, our team worked with a helicopter crew to capture and radio collar 80 adult pronghorn in western Nebraska. In 2022, 30 additional pronghorn were captured and collared, increasing our sample size to 110 animals. The GPS collars collect a precise location of the individual every 2.5 hours. These fine-scale data points will allow us to closely monitor daily movement and survival. The collars will remain on the pronghorn until 2023, after which they will automatically drop off and will be collected from the field.
With this data, our study aims to:
- Identify patterns in pronghorn movement and resource selection
- Monitor survival rates
- Evaluate how these factors may differ across different time and spatial scales
This project is a collaborative effort between UNL and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and is expected to conclude in August 2023 with the publication and distribution of our findings.