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Tribes to re-introduce antelope to area

 

Antelope will be introduced to the southwest corner of the reservation.

A wildlife team from the Colville Tribes' Fish and Wildlife (CTFW) Department will head to Nevada this coming January to assist with capture efforts of up to 100 pronghorn antelope. The animals will be released near the Tumwater Basin and White Lakes Mitigation Areas, on the southwest corner of the Colville Indian Reservation.

"Our staff will work with the Nevada Department of Wildlife," said Richard Whitney, wildlife manager. "We will utilize an aerial capture company from Nevada to round up and corral the pronghorn groups into a capture area. From there, the ground crews will move them to a processing area."

Once in the processing area, each animal will receive shots and veterinarian check-ups, have blood drawn for disease testing, and get GPS collars attached (to aid in monitoring efforts); other basic info will also be gathered. After they are processed, the pronghorn will be loaded into livestock trailers. Wildlife officials say the release should happen within 24 hours after being captured.

The wildlife management areas where the animals will be released were purchased by the Colville Tribal Wildlife Mitigation Project, and are primarily managed for the benefit of wildlife and their habitats. These parcels of land were purchased using funding supplied by Bonneville Power Administration to offset a portion of their wildlife mitigation obligation for Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph hydropower projects.

A pronghorn antelope

Wildlife staff have protected these lands from livestock, conducted planting and seeding efforts, removed unneeded fencing and made existing fencing more wildlife-friendly by removing the bottom wire and using smooth wire so pronghorn can go under fences without injury.

"There is enough native habitat on the plateau to support them," said Whitney. "We chose to move forward with the reintroduction at this time since a primary goal of the wildlife program is to restore native and desired non-native species to the Colville Reservation. Pronghorn are a native species to the homelands of our people. Since they have been extirpated from Wash., our tribal members have had to go to other states in order to utilize these animals for subsistence."

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