The Chihuahuan Desert Borderlands have a mixture of large mammals that is unparalleled, including desert mule deer, pronghorn, desert bighorn sheep, Carmen Mountain white-tailed deer, and elk. Despite this variety of large game and their economic importance, there is relatively little information available regarding their management. Research on these large mammals is a priority for our researchers.

Desert Mule Deer

Desert mule deer are one of the cornerstone wildlife species of the Chihuahuan Desert Borderlands. The Borderlands Research Institute strives to be a national leader in desert mule deer research and management. We conduct research in many areas related to mule deer.


Pronghorn are the last members of a unique family of North American mammals (Antilocapridae). Neither a deer, nor a true antelope, pronghorn are icons of the western prairies. They are the second fastest land animals and have the only true horns that fork, which they shed and regrow annually. However, pronghorn populations of this unique mammal have declined in previous years. Therefore, in 2010, concerned landowners partnered with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the Borderlands Research Institute to investigate the causes of pronghorn decline and decided to take actions to reverse it.

Desert Bighorn Sheep

Desert bighorn, one of three living subspecies of bighorn sheep, once roamed 16 Texas mountain ranges. Historically, Texas populations of desert bighorn were thought to number between 1,000 and 1,500 individuals in the late 1800s. By the 1930s population numbers fell to around 300 individuals in only four ranges and by 1960, desert bighorn sheep were gone from the state. Their restoration success is important to the ecology of the Trans-Pecos region. Therefore, partnerships with agencies and private landowners to provide restoration efforts is the driving force behind the successful management of desert bighorn sheep in Far West Texas.


Texas is home to dozens of exotic species, several of which can be found in the Trans-Pecos. These include African species (such as scimitar-horned oryx, gemsbok, and aoudad), Indian species (such as blackbuck antelope and axis deer), elk, and feral hogs. The Borderlands Research Institute strives to understand the environmental effects between exotic and native species.