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Lewis and Clark in North Dakota:
Wildlife Then & Now

Mammals


Goats, Cabrie or Antelope (Pronghorn) Past Pronghorn Distribution Map for North Dakota Present Pronghorn Distribution Map for North Dakota
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Goats, Cabrie or Antelope (Pronghorn)

After bison, the next most abundant animal that Lewis and Clark encountered was the pronghorn. This species, new to science, received its first technical description and name based upon specimens sent back by the expedition from Fort Mandan. Although found all across the state, pronghorn reached their highest numbers in the western third. In late summer 1873 a disease swept through western North Dakota that killed an estimated 75-90 percent of the western herd. Between 1880 and 1910, the remaining population receded as the incoming tide of settlers converted prairie to cropland. By 1925 only 225 animals were found in western North Dakota. Pronghorn numbers now generally fluctuate between 5,000 and 10,000 head. They may be seen throughout the Little Missouri National Grasslands, but their highest densities are in Bowman and Slope counties.


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