Deer and Antelope Cross Roads More Safely in Wyoming
Scientists with the Wildlife Conservations Society (WCS) announced the construction of new overpasses in Wyoming is complete. The overpasses are located over U.S. Highway 191 and provide a safe passage for migrating pronghorn in Trapper’s Point, Wyoming, and surrounding areas.
The main objective for constructing the overpasses was to help reduce the risk and occurrence of wildlife/vehicle collisions in the area. Locations for these structures were determined by the data that identified the migration routes and highway crossing points of the pronghorns, which was collected by the WCS, the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
In order to provide accurate information of the pronghorn’s migration routes, WCS scientists used GPS tracking collars to collect information on the location and timing of the animals’ movements and impediments to migration, such as roadways, fences, pipelines, and other types of infrastructure. Data was recorded over the course of five years, and WCS also studied an approximately 93-mile migration area of pronghorns between wintering and summering grounds.
From the information WCS obtained during their research, the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) was able to scout out the locations and build structures to protect motorists and provide a safe passage for migrating pronghorn and other wildlife in the area. The overpass at Trapper’s Point is one of eight safe passages constructed by WYDOT. An eight-foot high barrier fence has also been placed along the highway to channel the animals to crossing points.
In all, two overpasses and six underpasses have been constructed to accommodate the pronghorn, deer, elk, moose, and other animals that use the area as migration routes. The two overpasses were specifically designed and located to address wildlife migration conservation needs. WCS scientists hope that these efforts help culminate years of cooperation among conservationists, government officials, land and transportation planners, and others.