News Round-Up

New study reveals how fences hinder migratory wildlife in the West

Source: phys.org

Each year, thousands of migratory mule deer and pronghorn antelope journey northwest from their winter homes in the Green River Basin, a grassland valley in western Wyoming, to their summer homes in the mountainous landscape near Grand Teton National Park.

But to reach their destination, these ungulates must successfully navigate the more than 6,000 kilometres (3,728 miles) of fencing that crisscrosses the region. That’s enough distance to span nearly twice the length of the U.S.-Mexico border. MORE

Header image: Wildlife biologists at the University of California, Berkeley, combined GPS location data of tagged mule deer and pronghorn antelope with satellite imagery of Wyoming fences to find out just how often these animals encounter fences, and what happens when they do. As part of the study, the researchers created a software package that uses GPS data of animal locations to identify which sections of fencing pose the biggest barriers to pronghorn (left) and mule deer (right). These fences, considered more “impermeable,” can be targeted first for modification or removal. Credit: Wenjing Xu.