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Still Waters

Fences hinder migratory wildlife in the West

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Still Waters

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 kilometers (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.

In a new study, wildlife biologists at the University of California, Berkeley, combined GPS location data of tagged mule deer and pronghorn with satellite imagery of fences to find out just how often these animals encounter fences, and what happens when they do. The results, published on Jan. 7 in the Journal of Applied Ecology, help pinpoint which fences pose the biggest barrier to ungulates trying to access their ideal habitat.

https://phys.org/news/2021-01-reveals-hinder-migratory-wildlife-west.html

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