BARRIERS | Animals are struggling to migrate, but people can helpMule deer, elk and other hooved mammals around the world depend on their ability to migrate between seasonal habitats. Sadly, human activities are impeding migrations and making them harder than ever. Many herds are struggling to migrate in the face of subdivisions, roads, fences, and all kinds of development. Yet, thanks to migration science and maps, we live in a hopeful time for conservation when more and more people are working together to find solutions to all these threats. Efforts like fence modifications, wildlife-road crossings, and conservation easements all make a difference.
Filled with incredible wildlife footage — some never-before-seen — BARRIERS captures the many challenges migrating big game animals encounter on their journeys, and the collaborative solutions that can keep migrations intact long into the future. You can read more about the film here, and view it YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Vimeo.
BARRIERS was produced by the Wyoming Migration Initiative at the University of Wyoming with support from Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Knobloch Family Foundation, and George B. Storer Foundation. The Muley Fanatic Foundation Southeast Wyoming Chapter provided cameras to capture some of the amazing footage of big game interactions with fences.
400 MILES TO CROSS: THE INTERSTATE 80 WILDLIFE BARRIERIt is hard to wrap your head around the big wildlife barrier that cuts across the southern part of Wyoming, but a new WMI investigative film released online helps the public see it with fresh eyes.
The 12-minute film, “400 Miles to Cross: The I-80 Wildlife Barrier,” is available on Facebook, YouTube, and www.muleyfanatic.org. It shows that Interstate 80 is an almost impenetrable obstacle to movement of pronghorn, mule deer and elk. The highway has severed or truncated migration corridors originating as much as 150 miles away. The film also makes clear that Wyoming and other Western states have the science and the tools necessary to fix this problem. The investigation is narrated by Gregory Nickerson, a writer and filmmaker with WMI. In 2019, he set out looking for answers to how the road affects big game herds, and interviewed many experts who have been on the front lines of this issue for decades.
DEER 255'S MIGRATION ANIMATIONOur cartography team at the University of Oregon InfoGraphics Lab has created 3D visualizations to show the challenges of that Deer 255 faces in her migration, and how people have acted to conserve the Red Desert to Hoback migration corridor. You can view the her spring 2019 video here, on Facebook, or on YouTube.
Deer 255's fall 2019 migration was animated by the University of Oregon InfoGraphics Lab, and that video is also available here, on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.
ON THE ELK TRAIL: A MIGRATION MINISERIESIn 2018 WMI's Gregory Nickerson and Travis Zaffarano captured the entire fall migration of an elk herd in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of western Wyoming. Watch the entire miniseries as a single video here or on Youtube, or share episodes from our Facebook page.
Mapping Mule Deer Corridors in Yellowstone — Winter 2016Back in 2016, the migration routes of mule deer across eastern Greater Yellowstone have never been mapped in detail. In this video Wyoming Migration Initiative director Matt Kauffman explains how we gathered our GPS satellite collar data and shared it with the public, with highlights from our March 13-18, 2016 capture operations across northwest Wyoming.
Mule Deer Migration Research Near Heart Mountain, WYIn 2016, capture crews with the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and Wyoming Game and Fish placed GPS tracking collars on mule deer near Heart Mountain in Park County, Wyoming. The snowy conditions hampered visibility for the helicopter crew, but deer were lively as they ran back into the storm. Animals from this herd migrate each spring into the Absaroka Range and Yellowstone National Park. See the results from this tracking study here: https://migrationinitiative.org/content/eastern-greater-yellowstone-mule-deer-project
“All This Can Coexist” — Mule deer migration on the edge of Greater YellowstoneThe historic Pitchfork Ranch on the edge of Greater Yellowstone is winter home to migrating elk and mule deer. With deer numbers down, rancher Lenox Baker and Wyoming Game and Fish biologist Bart Kroger discuss how migration research and wildlife-friendly fencing can help deer bounce back.
UNGULATE MIGRATION PHOTOS
All photos in these albums are free to use with credit under a Creative Commons license. For more photos see the Wyoming Migration Initiative Flickr page.