An exhibit featuring two endangered peninsular pronghorns was unveiled today at The Living Desert.
The exhibit opened at 9 a.m. at the zoo and botanical gardens, which preserves 1,000 acres of natural desert.
Peninsular pronghorn, which are named for the shape of their horns, can only be found in part of Baja California.
The population of the pronghorns in the open plains of western North America has recovered from 19th century hunting, but the southern group has not, according to Peter Siminski, the park’s director conservation and education.
“Those populations (in the south) are very small and different than their relatives to the north, and they are pretty vulnerable to extinction,” Siminski said.
The Living Desert, in collaboration with the Los Angeles Zoo, the San Diego Zoo and colleagues in Mexico, are working to establish a new population of the pronghorn in Baja, he said.
“We are also trying to establish as zoo-based population in case some disaster happens in the wild,” Siminski said.
The pronghorn are a unique species that have no living relative for the past 10,000 years, according to Siminski.
“They are not quite deer, cattle, bison or sheep. They are in their own family,” he said. “They are related to big horn sheep and deer, but quite distantly.”
The Living Desert is also working with an education program in Mexico to “to raise awareness of this rare animal,” according to Siminski.