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Two Great Plains speed demons

I had to go to Cheyenne for business yesterday and while I had little time to spare given the agenda, I did take two minutes to stop and photograph these two handsome Pronghorn bucks. They were standing right next to the road not far inside the Wyoming border. Best of all, unlike my usual encounters with them, these two didn’t instantly run away and instead posed (albeit briefly).

I personally find these creatures fascinating. They are cool looking of course but the mere fact they can run so fast is incredible. Pronghorn (often incorrectly called antelope) are the fastest land animal in the Western Hemisphere and second in the world only to the Cheetah. They can sprint at speeds up to 60mph and run for extraordinarily long distances at slower speeds.

Before the arrival of western Europeans, it is believed as many as 40 million of them roamed the open rangelands of North America – possibly more than there were bison. Hunting and fragmentation of their habitat by fences and human settlements took its toll and as few as 20,000 remained at the start of the 20th century. Thankfully conservation and education saved them from extinction and they now number almost 1 million.

A pair of Pronghorn bucks keeps close watch near Cheyenne, Wyoming.   (© Tony’s Takes)

A pair of Pronghorn bucks keeps close watch near Cheyenne, Wyoming. (© Tony’s Takes)

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