Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release

November 22, 2016


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

Sonoran pronghorn.

Sonoran pronghorn. Credit: James Atkinson, USFWS.

The plan guiding conservation efforts and setting recovery goals for the endangered Sonoran pronghorn has been revised. The impetus for revising the 1998 Sonoran Pronghorn Recovery Plan revision was new information obtained on Sonoran pronghorn, new identified threats to the species, and new management efforts in the U.S. and Mexico. The plan is available at

The plan was developed by the Sonoran Pronghorn Recovery Team, a binational group of scientists and land managers. The plan underwent public comment and peer review and has been approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“In 2002, a drought-induced crash of the U.S. Sonoran pronghorn population marshalled our partners to aggressively respond to threats and initiate a captive breeding program to bolster populations,” said Jim Atkinson, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ Sonoran Pronghorn Recovery Coordinator. “We realized that in addition to intensifying recovery efforts in the U.S., the importance of close collaboration with Mexico is essential. This binational plan is an achievable path for securing and fully recovering this emblematic species.”

The revised recovery plan lays out a strategy that includes protecting habitat; increasing and/or maintaining existing populations in the U.S. and Mexico and possibly establishing additional populations, while managing for genetic diversity; removing, reducing, or managing threats to the species; and identifying and addressing priority monitoring and research needs.

Achieving the recovery criteria will ensure the long-term conservation and protection of the pronghorn and its habitat and could prompt removing it from the list of endangered species. The plan estimates that the delisting goals could be met by 2036.

The Sonoran pronghorn subspecies was first recognized as endangered in 1967 under the Endangered Species Preservation Act, a predecessor of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The subspecies is currently listed as an endangered species throughout most of its range under the ESA. Additionally, there is a nonessential experimental population of Sonoran pronghorn in Arizona. Primary threats to the species include barriers that limit distribution and movement; dewatering of rivers; loss, fragmentation, and degradation of habitat; human-caused disturbance; and drought.

Recognizing the binational distribution of the species, and the unique challenges and opportunities this presents, two conservation units for the species have been designated, one in the United States and one in Mexico. The U.S. conservation unit includes the subspecies’ historical range in southern Arizona and southeastern California. The Mexico conservation unit includes the historical range of Sonoran pronghorn in Sonora and possibly Baja California, Mexico. Within the conservation units are smaller management units that are the focus of recovery activities.

To receive a copy of the revised recovery plan, please contact James Atkinson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, 1611 North Second Avenue, Ajo, Arizona, 85321; telephone (520) 387-6483; email; or download a copy of the plan from the Service’s website .

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit, or connect with us through any of these social media channels: -FWS

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