American Original: Pronghorn on the Plateau
Though its genus name, Antilocapra, means “antelope goat,” the pronghorn is neither antelope nor goat. It is, instead, the sole surviving member of its genetic family, an American original. The fastest animal in the Western Hemisphere – clocked at 60 miles per hour – the pronghorn has few natural predators, though coyotes and golden eagles may prep on fawns. But by the late 1800s, hunting and overgrazing had reduced Utah’s pronghorn population to an estimated 700 individuals.
Reintroduced near Cannonville in the late 1960s, pronghorns soon migrated to the Paunsaugunt Plateau and have remained here ever since. The plateau’s open meadows and ponderosa pine forests provide ideal pronghorn habitat. Winter winds sweep snow from the meadows, so pronghorns can continue to browse sagebrush, grasses, and other plants.
Plaque located near the Bryce Canyon Airport in Bryce Canyon, Utah