11 Mar Assignment Earth: Caution: Mule Deer Crossing – The Joy Trip Project
Collisions with automobiles make it pretty clear where Mule Deer don’t make it across the road. But what researchers want to find out is where they do. The answer is important as officials in Wyoming get ready to expand major highways -some up to five lanes- that run through this wildlife rich gateway to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
“If we can figure out where animals are crossing, we can at least hope to reduce some of those wildlife vehicle collisions, which will help from a population perspective to keep the animals alive,” said Embere Hall of Teton Science Schools. “Secondly it will help improve human safety. No one wants to hit an animal with their car.”
A three-year study is underway to better understand the highway-crossing behavior of mule deer. At a cost of my more than $300,000 this labor intensive project aims to discover exactly how animals maneuver through this increasingly busy valley.