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Sonoran pronghorn recovery program a success

Federal wildlife biologist Mike Coffeen is ecstatic these days. His efforts to save North America's fastest mammal – the endangered Sonoran pronghorn – are succeeding beyond expectations.

Five years after drought whittled the deer-like animal's population to a handful, pushing it to the brink of extinction, its numbers are back above 100.

Biologists are especially encouraged by the 18 fawns born within the past three months in a square-mile captive breeding enclosure within this sprawling national refuge in southern Arizona – what Coffeen calls “our disaster ace in the hole.”

“Eighteen is above what I thought we'd have, so I was ecstatic,” said Coffeen, who is with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We're at a point in this program where we're on a roll.”

(Photo: Defenders of Wildlife)

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