OMAK—A small group of the 52 pronghorn relocated from Nevada to mitigation properties on the Colville Indian Reservation in January have swam across the Columbia River and are now in Douglas County, according to a release from Colville Tribal Fish and Wildlife.
Though CTFW Wildlife manager Rich Whitney noted quick movement across the river surprised tribal biologists, the animals’ exploration has been expected.
“Our original goal is to restore the species,” said Whitney. “We’d like to get them established here, but they’re going to be across the river as well.”
Pronghorn hunting is closed in Washington state.
Whitney reported he’d recently observed a group of 18 pronghorn on the reservation mitigation lands.
Fourteen of the animals were previously reported to have died.
Twenty-six adult pronghorns have been radio-collared and are currently transmitting data, according to the CTFW release, which further states wildlife staff continue to monitor the herds’ movement patterns, habitat use and mortality.
“They’re wild animals, they’re going to go wherever they want,” said Whitney.
In 2011, the Yakama Nation relocated 99 pronghorns to reservation lands, and according to online Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife resources, the animals moved east as far as Pasco and south as far as the Columbia River. Separately, a group of three bucks and a doe were even observed in Asotin and Garfield Counties in 2013.