|Adult male pronghorn in Oregon|
|Adult female pronghorn in Wyoming|
|Tribe:|| Antilocaprini |
|Genus:|| Antilocapra |
|Antilocapra americana |
|Range of the Pronghorn|
The pronghorn ( UK: // , US: /-/ ) (Antilocapra americana) is a species of artiodactyl mammal indigenous to interior western and central North America. Though not an antelope, it is often known colloquially in North America as the American antelope, prong buck, pronghorn antelope, prairie antelope, or simply antelope because it closely resembles the true antelopes of the Old World and fills a similar ecological niche due to parallel evolution.
British English is the standard dialect of English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".
American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. It is considered one of the most influential dialects of English globally, including on other varieties of English.
The even-toed ungulates are ungulates – hoofed animals – which bear weight equally on two of the five toes: their third and fourth toes. The other three toes are either present, absent, vestigial, or pointing posteriorly. By contrast, odd-toed ungulates bear weight on one of the five toes: the third toe. Another difference between the two is that even-toed ungulates digest plant cellulose in one or more stomach chambers rather than in their intestine as the odd-toed ungulates do.
It is the only surviving member of the family Antilocapridae.During the Pleistocene epoch, about 12 antilocaprid species existed in North America. Three other genera ( Capromeryx , Stockoceros and Tetrameryx ) existed when humans entered North America but are now extinct.
Family is one of the eight major hierarchical taxonomic ranks in Linnaean taxonomy; it is classified between order and genus. A family may be divided into subfamilies, which are intermediate ranks between the ranks of family and genus. The official family names are Latin in origin; however, popular names are often used: for example, walnut trees and hickory trees belong to the family Juglandaceae, but that family is commonly referred to as being the "walnut family".
The Antilocapridae are a family of artiodactyls endemic to North America. Their closest extant relatives are the giraffids with which they comprise the superfamily Giraffoidea. Only one species, the pronghorn, is living today; all other members of the family are extinct. The living pronghorn is a small ruminant mammal resembling an antelope.
The Pleistocene is the geological epoch which lasted from about 2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the world's most recent period of repeated glaciations. The end of the Pleistocene corresponds with the end of the last glacial period and also with the end of the Paleolithic age used in archaeology.
As a member of the superfamily Giraffoidea, the pronghorn's closest living relatives are the giraffes and okapi. The Giraffoidea are in turn members of the infraorder Pecora, making pronghorns more distant relatives of the Cervidae (deer) and Bovidae (cattle, goats, sheep, antelopes, and gazelles), among others.
Giraffoidea is a superfamily that includes the families of Climacoceratidae, Antilocapridae, and Giraffidae. The only extant members in the superfamily are the pronghorn, giraffe, and okapi. The Climacoceratidae are also placed in the superfamily, but were originally placed within the family Palaeomerycidae.
The giraffe (Giraffa) is a genus of African even-toed ungulate mammals, the tallest living terrestrial animals and the largest ruminants. Taxonomic classifications of one to eight extant giraffe species have been described, based upon research into the mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, as well as morphological measurements of Giraffa, but the International Union for Conservation of Nature currently recognises only one species, Giraffa camelopardalis, the type species, with nine subspecies. Seven other species are extinct, prehistoric species known from fossils.
The okapi, also known as the forest giraffe, Congolese giraffe, or zebra giraffe, is an artiodactyl mammal native to the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Although the okapi has striped markings reminiscent of zebras, it is most closely related to the giraffe. The okapi and the giraffe are the only living members of the family Giraffidae.
The scientific name of the pronghorn is Antilocapra americana. The pronghorn is the sole extant member of the family Antilocapridae. This species was first described by American ornithologist George Ord in 1815.The pronghorn were first seen and described by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, but were not formally recorded or scrutinised till the 1804–1806 expedition by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark. The expedition, which aimed to unravel water routes in the continent for commercial purposes, led to the discovery or formal recognition of a variety of flora and fauna of North America. Following the discovery of a few subspecies of the sharp-tailed grouse, Lewis and Clark came across the pronghorn near the mouth of the Niobrara River, in present-day Nebraska. Clark was the first to kill a pronghorn, and described his experience as follows:
George Ord was an American naturalist, ornithologist and writer.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition from May 1804 to September 1806, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross the western portion of the United States. It began in Pittsburgh, Pa, made its way westward, and passed through the Continental Divide of the Americas to reach the Pacific coast. The Corps of Discovery was a selected group of US Army volunteers under the command of Captain Meriwether Lewis and his close friend Second Lieutenant William Clark.
Meriwether Lewis was an American explorer, soldier, politician, and public administrator, best known for his role as the leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery, with William Clark.
I walked on shore to find an old Vulcanoe [the Ionia Volcano?] ... in my walk I killed a Buck Goat of this Countrey, about the height of the Grown Deer, its body Shorter the horns which is not very hard and forks 2⁄3 up one prong Short the other round & Sharp arched, and is immediately above its Eyes the Color is a light gray with black behind its ears down the neck, and its face white round its neck, its Sides and its rump round its tail which is Short & white; Verry actively made, has only a pair of hoofs to each foot, his brains on the back of his head, his Nostrals large, his eyes like a Sheep he is more like the Antilope or Gazelle of Africa than any other Species of Goat.
The Ionia Volcano is located east of Newcastle, Nebraska. Called "Nebraska's Prairie Volcano" by The New York Times in 1901, the smoking hills were long noted by local Native American tribes. The local Ponca tribe considered the hills sacred. The Lewis and Clark expedition on August 24, 1804 recorded the geological formation.
Lewis and Clark made several other observations on the behavior of the pronghorn and how the local tribes hunted them. They described the animal, which they referred to as the "Antelope" or the "Goat", as follows:
Of all the animals we have seen the Antelope seems to possess the most wonderful fleetness. Shy and timorous they generally repose only on the ridges, which command a view of all the approaches of an enemy ... When they first see the hunters they run with great velocity ... The Indians near the Rocky Mountains hunt these animals on horseback, and shoot them with arrows. The Mandans' mode of hunting them is to form a large, strong pen or fold, from which a fence made of bushes gradually widens on each side. The animals are surrounded by the hunters, and gently driven towards this pen, in which they imperceptibly find themselves enclosed, and are then at the mercy of the hunters.
Pronghorns have distinct white fur on their rumps, sides, breasts, bellies, and across their throats. Adult males are 1.3–1.5 m (4 ft 3 in–4 ft 11 in) long from nose to tail, stand 81–104 cm (32–41 in) high at the shoulder, and weigh 40–65 kg (88–143 lb). The females are the same height as males, but weigh 34–48 kg (75–106 lb). The feet have two hooves, with no dewclaws. Their body temperature is 38 °C (100 °F).
The orbits (eye sockets) are prominent and set high on the skull, with never an anteorbital pit. Their teeth are hypsodont, and their dental formula is 0.0.3.3.
Each "horn" of the pronghorn is composed of a slender, laterally flattened blade of bone that grows from the frontal bones of the skull, forming a permanent core. As in the Giraffidae, skin covers the bony cores, but in the pronghorn, it develops into a keratinous sheath which is shed and regrown annually. Unlike the horns of the family Bovidae, the horn sheaths of the pronghorn are branched, each sheath having a forward-pointing tine (hence the name pronghorn). Males have a horn sheath about 12.5–43 cm (4.9–16.9 in) (average 25 cm (9.8 in)) long with a prong. Females have smaller horns that range from 2.5–15.2 cm (1–6 in) (average 12 centimetres (4.7 in)) and sometimes barely visible; they are straight and very rarely pronged. Males are further differentiated from females in having a small patch of black hair at the angle of the mandible. Pronghorns have a distinct, musky odor. Males mark territory with a preorbital scent gland which is on the sides of the head. They also have very large eyes with a 320° field of vision. Unlike deer, pronghorns possess a gallbladder.
The pronghorn is the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere, being built for maximum predator evasion through running. The top speed is very hard to measure accurately and varies between individuals; it can run 35 mph for 4 mi (56 km/h for 6 km), 42 mph for 1 mi (67 km/h for 1.6 km), and 55 mph for 0.5 mi (88.5 km/h for 0.8 km). It is often cited as the second-fastest land animal, second only to the cheetah. It can, however, sustain high speeds longer than cheetahs. University of Idaho zoologist John Byers has suggested the pronghorn evolved its running ability to escape from extinct predators such as the American cheetah, since its speed greatly exceeds that of extant North American predators. Compared to its body size, the pronghorn has a large windpipe, heart, and lungs to allow it to take in large amounts of air when running. Additionally, pronghorn hooves have two long, cushioned, pointed toes which help absorb shock when running at high speeds. They also have an extremely light bone structure and hollow hair. Pronghorns are built for speed, not for jumping. Their ranges are sometimes affected by sheep ranchers' fences. However, they can be seen going under fences, sometimes at high speed. For this reason, the Arizona Antelope Foundation and others are in the process of removing the bottom barbed wire from the fences, and/or installing a barbless bottom wire.
The pronghorn has been observed to have at least 13 distinct gaits, including one reaching nearly 7.3 m (8.0 yd) per stride.
Pronghorns were brought to scientific notice by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which found them in what is now South Dakota. Their range extends from southern Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada south through the United States (southwestern Minnesota and central Texas west to coastal southern California)and northern Baja California Sur, to Sonora and San Luis Potosí in northern Mexico.
The subspecies known as the Sonoran pronghorn (A. a. sonoriensis) occurs in Arizona and Mexico.Other subspecies include the Mexican pronghorn (A. a. mexicana), the Oregon pronghorn (A. a. oregona), and the critically endangered Baja California pronghorn (A. a. peninsularis).
Pronghorns prefer open, expansive terrain at elevations varying between 900 and 1,800 m (3,000 and 5,900 ft), with the densest populations in areas receiving around 25–40 cm (9.8–15.7 in) of rainfall per year. They eat a wide variety of plant foods, often including plants unpalatable or toxic to domestic livestock (sheep and cattle), though they also compete with them for food. In one study, forbs comprised 62% of their diet, shrubs 23%, and grasses 15%, while in another, cacti comprised 40%, grass 22%, forbs 20%, and shrubs 18%. Pronghorns also chew and eat (ruminate) cud, which is their own partially digested food. Healthy pronghorn populations tend to stay within 5.0–6.5 km (3.1–4.0 mi) of water. An ongoing study by the Lava Lake Institute for Science and Conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Society shows an overland migration route that covers more than 160 mi (260 km). The migrating pronghorn start travel from the foothills of the Pioneer Mountains through Craters of the Moon National Monument to the Continental Divide. Dr. Scott Bergen of Wildlife Conservation Society says, "This study shows that pronghorn are the true marathoners of the American West. With these new findings, we can confirm that Idaho supports a major overland mammal migration - an increasingly rare phenomenon in the U.S. and worldwide."
Cougars, wolves, coyotes, and bobcats are major predators of pronghorns. Golden eagles have been reported to prey on fawns and adults.
Pronghorns form mixed-sex herds in the winter. In early spring, the herds break up, with young males forming bachelor groups, females forming their groups, and adult males living solitarily.Some female bands share the same summer range, and bachelor male bands form between spring and fall. Females form dominance hierarchies with few circular relationships. Dominant females aggressively displace other females from feeding sites.
Adult males either defend a fixed territory that females may enter, or defend a harem of females. A pronghorn may change mating strategies depending on environmental or demographic conditions.Where precipitation is high, adult males tend to be territorial and maintain their territories with scent marking, vocalizing, and challenging intruders. In these systems, territorial males have access to better resources than bachelor males. Females also employ different mating strategies. "Sampling" females visit several males and remain with each for a short time before switching to the next male at an increasing rate as oestrus approaches. "Inciting" females behave as samplers until oestrus and then incite conflicts between males, watching and then mating with the winners. Before fighting, males try to intimidate each other. If intimidation fails, they lock horns and try to injure each other. "Quiet" females remain with a single male in an isolated area throughout oestrus. Females continue this mating behavior for two to three weeks.
When courting an estrous female, a male pronghorn approaches her while softly vocalizingand waving his head side to side, displaying his cheek patches. The scent glands on the pronghorn are on either side of the jaw, between the hooves, and on the rump. A receptive female remains motionless, sniffs his scent gland, and then allows the male to mount her.
Pronghorns have a gestation period of 7–8 months, which is longer than is typical for North American ungulates. They breed in mid-September, and the doe carries her fawn until late May. This gestation period is around six weeks longer than that of the white-tailed deer. Females usually bear within a few days of each other. 2–4 kg (4.4–8.8 lb), most commonly 3 kg (6.6 lb). In their first 21–26 days, fawns spend time hiding in vegetation. Fawns interact with their mothers for 20–25 minutes a day and this continues even when the fawn joins a nursery. The females nurse, groom, and lead their young to food and water, as well as keep predators away from them. Females usually nurse the young about three times a day. Males are weaned 2–3 weeks earlier than females. Sexual maturity is reached at 15 to 16 months, though males rarely breed until three years old. Their lifespan is typically up to 10 years, rarely 15 years.Twin fawns are common. Newborn pronghorns weigh
At the turn of the 20th century, members of the wildlife conservation group Boone and Crockett Club had determined that the extinction of the pronghorn was likely. In a letter from George Bird Grinnell, Boone and Crockett Club chairman of the game preservation committee, to Walter L. Fisher, Secretary of the Interior, Grinnell stated, "The Club is much concerned about the fate of the pronghorn which appears to be everywhere rapidly diminishing." By the 1920s, hunting pressure had reduced the pronghorn population to about 13,000.Boone and Crockett Club member Charles Alexander Sheldon, in a letter to fellow member Grinnell, wrote, "Personally, I think that the antelope are doomed, yet every attempt should be made to save them." Although the Club had begun their efforts to save the pronghorn in 1910 by funding and restocking the Wichita Game Refuge in Kansas, the National Bison Range in Montana, and the Wind Cave National Park, in South Dakota, most of the efforts were doomed since experience demonstrated that after initial increases the pronghorns would die off because of the fenced enclosures. In 1927, Grinnell spearheaded efforts along with the help of T. Gilbert Pearson of Grinnell's National Audubon Society to create the Charles Alexander Sheldon Antelope Refuge in northern Nevada. About 2900 acres of land were jointly purchased by the two organizations and subsequently turned over to the Biological Survey as a pronghorn refuge. This donation was contingent upon the government's adding 30,000 acres of surrounding public lands. On June 20, 1929, President Hoover included the required public lands upon request of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior after learning that the Boone and Crockett Club and the National Audubon Society were underwriting the private land buyout. On January 26, 1931, Hoover signed the executive order for the refuge. On December 31, 1936, president Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order creating a 549,000-acre tract; this was the true beginning for pronghorn recovery in North America.
The protection of habitat and hunting restrictions have allowed pronghorn numbers to recover to an estimated population between 500,000 and 1,000,000 (excluding the Sonoran pronghorn, which is down to about 200).Some recent decline has occurred in a few localized populations, due to bluetongue disease, which is spread from sheep, but the overall trend has been positive since conservation measures were put in place.
Pronghorn migration corridors are threatened by habitat fragmentation and the blocking of traditional routes. In a migration study conducted by Lava Lake Institute for Science and Conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Society, at one point, the migration corridor bottlenecks to an area only 200 yards wide.
Pronghorns are now quite numerous, and outnumbered people in Wyoming and parts of northern Colorado until just recently. They are legally hunted in western states for purposes of population control and food. No major range-wide threats exist, although localized declines are taking place, particularly to the Sonoran pronghorn, mainly as a result of, among others, livestock grazing, the construction of roads, fences, and other barriers that prevent access to historical habitat, illegal hunting, insufficient forage and water, and lack of recruitment.
Three subspecies are considered endangered in all (A. a. sonoriensis, A. a. peninsularis), or part of their ranges (A. a. mexicana). Populations of the Sonoran pronghorn in Arizona and Mexico are protected under the Endangered Species Act (since 1967), and a recovery plan for this subspecies has been prepared by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.Mexican animals are listed on CITES Appendix I. Pronghorns have game-animal status in all of the western states of the United States, and permits are required to trap or shoot pronghorns.
An antelope is a member of a number of even-toed ungulate species indigenous to various regions in Africa and Eurasia. Antelopes comprise a wastebasket taxon within the family Bovidae, encompassing those Old World species that are not cattle, sheep, buffalo, bison, or goats; even so, antelope are generally more deer-like than other bovids. A group of antelope is called a herd.
The gerenuk, also known as the giraffe gazelle, is a long-necked antelope found in the Horn of Africa and the drier parts of East Africa. The sole member of the genus Litocranius, the gerenuk was first described by the naturalist Victor Brooke in 1878. It is characterised by its long, slender neck and limbs. The antelope is 80–105 centimetres (31–41 in) tall, and weighs between 28 and 52 kilograms. Two types of colouration are clearly visible on the smooth coat: the reddish brown back or the "saddle", and the lighter flanks, fawn to buff. The horns, present only on males, are lyre-shaped. Curving backward then slightly forward, these measure 25–44 centimetres (9.8–17.3 in).
A horn is a permanent pointed projection on the head of various animals consisting of a covering of keratin and other proteins surrounding a core of live bone. Horns are distinct from antlers, which are not permanent. In mammals, true horns are found mainly among the ruminant artiodactyls, in the families Antilocapridae (pronghorn) and Bovidae.
The Tibetan antelope or chiru is a medium-sized bovid native to the Tibetan plateau. Fewer than 150,000 mature individuals are left in the wild, but the population is currently thought to be increasing. In 1980s and 1990s, they had become endangered due to massive illegal poaching. They are hunted for their extremely soft, light and warm underfur which is usually obtained after death. This underfur, known as shahtoosh, is used to weave luxury shawls in Jammu and Kashmir, northern India. Shahtoosh shawls were traditionally given as wedding gifts in India and it takes the underfur of 3-5 adult antelopes to make one shawl. Despite strict controls on trade of shahtoosh products and CITES listing, there is still demand for these luxury items. Within India, shawls are worth $1,000-$5,000, internationally the price can reach as high as $20,000.
Thomson's gazelle is one of the best-known gazelles. It is named after explorer Joseph Thomson and is sometimes referred to as a "tommie". It is considered by some to be a subspecies of the red-fronted gazelle and was formerly considered a member of the genus Gazella within the subgenus Eudorcas, before Eudorcas was elevated to genus status. Thomson's gazelles can be found in numbers exceeding 550,000 in Africa and are recognized as the most common type of gazelle in East Africa. The Thomson's gazelle can reach speeds of 50–55 miles per hour (80–90 km/h). It is the fifth-fastest land animal, after the cheetah, pronghorn, springbok, and wildebeest.
Capromeryx minor, sometimes known as the dwarf pronghorn, is a very small, extinct species of pronghorn-like antilocaprid ungulate discovered in the La Brea Tar Pits of California and elsewhere. It has been found at least as far east as the coast of Texas. It stood about 60 centimetres tall at the shoulders and weighed about 10 kilograms (22 lb). It is unclear whether females had horns as well as males. Each horn consists of a pair of short, straight points that sprout from a single base on either side of the head, with the two prongs parallel rather than diverging as in Tetrameryx and Stockoceros. A number of different species have been described which are likely all the same: Capromeryx furcifer, Capromeryx mexicana and Capromeryx minimus. Capromeryx furcifer would have priority as the proper name for the Late Irvingtonian through Rancholabrean species in which the anterior prong is less than 50% the height of the posterior prong. Its fossils have also been found at least as far east at as the Texas coast, as well as in Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, Sonora, Baja California, and near Mexico City. Specimens of this species date to the Late Irvingtonian and Rancholabrean periods. Two earlier species are known: Capromeryx tautonensis from Washington State and from Central Mexico in the Early Blancan, and Capromeryx arizonensis from the Late Blancan in Arizona, New Mexico and Florida. These two earlier species were larger and heavier than the Pleistocene species. It is thought by some biologists that it lived in forests and underbrush, where its small size would have helped it to hide. It is unlikely that it lived in open prairies, since it would not have been fast enough to outrun the predators of that time.
The Boone and Crockett Club is an American nonprofit organization that advocates fair chase hunting in support of habitat conservation. The club is North America's oldest wildlife and habitat conservation organization, founded in the United States in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt. The club was named in honor of hunter-heroes of the day, Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett, whom the club's founders viewed as pioneering men who hunted extensively while opening the American frontier, but realized the consequences of overharvesting game. In addition to authoring a famous "fair chase" statement of hunter ethics, the club worked for the expansion and protection of Yellowstone National Park and the establishment of American conservation in general. The Club and its members were also responsible for the elimination of commercial market hunting, creation of the National Park and National Forest Services, National Wildlife Refuge system, wildlife reserves, and funding for conservation, all under the umbrella of what is known today as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.
The Pecora are an infraorder of even-toed hoofed mammals with ruminant digestion. Most members of Pecora have cranial appendages projecting from their frontal bones; only two extant genera lack them, Hydropotes and Moschus. The name “Pecora” comes from the Latin word pecus, which means “horned livestock”. Although most pecorans have cranial appendages, only some of these are properly called “horns”, and many scientists agree that these appendages did not arise from a common ancestor, but instead evolved independently on at least two occasions. Likewise, while the Pecora as a group are supported by both molecular and morphological studies, morphological support for interrelationships between pecoran families is disputed.
Osbornoceros is an extinct artiodactyl genus of the family Antilocapridae. All antilocaprid species are extinct except for the pronghorn. Osbornoceros osborni is the only known species of the genus Osbornoceros. Osbornoceros lived during the Late Miocene around 7 to 6 million years ago in what is now North America. It is well represented in fossil discoveries, with nearly a dozen specimens having been found to date. All come from the Chamita Formation in a quarry near Lyden, New Mexico, the site of numerous other finds such as that of Chamitataxus, a prehistoric badger that lived at the same time. The holotype specimen of Osbornoceros was discovered in 1937 and many more were found nearby during further expeditions.
The Grant's gazelle is a species of gazelle distributed from northern Tanzania to South Sudan and Ethiopia, and from the Kenyan coast to Lake Victoria. Its Swahili name is swala granti. It was named for a 19th-century Scottish explorer, Lt Col Grant.
The Sonoran pronghorn is an endangered subspecies of pronghorn that is endemic to the Sonoran Desert.
The Mexican pronghorn is a pronghorn native to Mexico and the United States.
The Baja California pronghorn or peninsular pronghorn is a critically endangered subspecies of pronghorn, endemic to Baja California in Mexico. The wild population is estimated at 200.
Ramoceros is an extinct genus of the artiodactyl family Antilocapridae endemic to Miocene and Pliocene North America.
There are at least 14 large mammal and 50 small mammal species known to occur in Glacier National Park.
Stockoceros is an extinct genus of the North American artiodactyl family Antilocapridae, known from Mexico and the southwestern United States. Its horns are each divided near their base into two prongs of roughly equal length.
Tetrameryx is an extinct genus of the North American artiodactyl family Antilocapridae, known from Mexico, the western United States, and Saskatchewan. The name means "four [horned] ruminant", referring to the division of each horn near its base into two prongs; in T. shuleri, the rear prong is much longer.
Merriamoceros is an extinct genus of antilocapridae. It is known from a single species, which is also the type species, M. coronatus.
Capromeryx was a genus of dwarf pronghorns (Antilocapridae) that originated in North America during the Pliocene about 5 million years ago. The closest living relative and only surviving member of the family is the North American pronghorn.
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