Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Monday, November 08, 2010
Pronghorns' disappearance a mystery
As Bill Miller looks across his ranch that spreads out under the vast West Texas sky, a once-common sight has became a rarity: the pronghorn. “They’re just part of the landscape,” Miller said. “They should be there, and they’re not.” A symbol of the West, pronghorn have a body type somewhat like a deer with distinctive white stripes on their faces and necks and white markings that come halfway up their sides. The flash of white hair on their behinds stands on end to signal danger. The fastest land animal in North America, they can reach speeds close to 60 mph. And in West Texas, where desert grasslands give way to mountain ranges, their numbers are dropping, and researchers don’t yet know why. Miller can remember when as many as 100 pronghorn made their home on parts of his 33,000-acre ranch west of Valentine. This year, he estimates there are about 12. Pronghorn numbers in West Texas are at about 4,700 this year, down from about 6,000 last year, when good rains indicated that the numbers should have increased. After noticing the decline, researchers started talking to ranchers, who reported finding the majestic animals dead for no apparent reason...more