New Mexico Project
Evaluating landscape permeability and connectivity for pronghorn in southwestern New Mexico
September 2022 - December 2025
The landscapes necessary to maintain large mammal movements are becoming increasingly fragmented across the western United States due to anthropogenic factors. These conditions in the broader landscape may influence the functional connectivity and impede the ability of wild ungulates to cope with changes in habitat and forage conditions associated with changing climatic conditions, and anthropogenic activities, which may ultimately compromise sustainability of many big game populations. Adaptive movements by non-migratory populations allow animals to efficiently exploit dynamic nutritional landscape. These movements are critical for migratory and non-migratory populations alike as they allow them to maximize nutritional gain, enhance survival and recruitment, and increase probability of population persistence. This will be especially important for populations in arid and semi-arid regions that are predicted to become hotter and drier under various climate change models. Pronghorn in the arid Southwest are generally nomadic rather than seasonal migrants. However, impediments to movements that allow pronghorn to track changing forage conditions in an arid landscape are equally important for population persistence as migration routes are to truly migratory populations in more north temperate regions. This project will monitor pronghorn movements in southwestern New Mexico for a period of 2-3 years. The goals are to monitor space use and movements, identify impediments or barriers to movement that can be targeted by management agencies for remediation, and assess habitat use patterns to determine habitat utilization, with a particular emphasis on vegetation restoration treatments implemented by BLM.