Date of this Version
The Journal of Wildlife Management 80(8):1471–1478; 2016; DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21139
Habitat quality is an important factor that can greatly affect wildlife populations. Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) habitat in the Texas Panhandle, USA has been lost through growth of human settlements and agricultural lands. We determined the most pertinent environmental variables affecting habitat selection using multiple methods, including a search of peer-reviewed literature, expert opinion ranking, and habitat suitability modeling. We determined quality and extent of pronghorn habitat in the Texas Panhandle using the MAXENT modeling environment to build a presence-only habitat suitability model based on global positioning system (GPS) locations collected via aerial surveys. Our habitat suitability model indicated that woodlands, agricultural land, and summer precipitation had the greatest contributions to the overall model. Areas with greatest habitat suitability are associated with high pronghorn population densities, particularly in the northwestern corner of the Panhandle. This probabilistic model may serve as a useful tool for pronghorn conservation primarily because it provides insight into what factors are most predictive of their presence, which areas are most suitable for pronghorn, and as a simple, replicable process to identify and evaluate pronghorn habitat.