Greater Yellowstone Coalition recently had a volunteer day near Ennis, Montana where we made some significant progress in creating a wildlife-friendly fence.
As we all know, Wyoming is a rural state connected by extensive roads that we all travel to conduct business, recreate, and stay connected with friends and family. And if you drive these roads regularly, there is a good chance that you may hit an animal one day - and likely know someone who already has.
It’s hard to get too excited about strategic planning, but as a road map toward future goals a plan is a critical piece of work, especially when it’s for a place as important and beloved as Yellowstone National Park. Earlier this month, the park released its five strategic priorities that will guide its short- and long-term decision making. We applaud Superintendent Cam Sholly for sharing the park’s priorities so widely and transparently.
We’ve all seen too many dead animals on the side of the road. Just this past week our community witnessed two young moose that were hit and killed at the intersection of Wyoming highways 22 and 390.
In Teton County it is estimated that over 500 animals a year are killed on our roads. A history of development within wildlife habitat has left land cross-sectioned with roads, creating a danger for our wildlife and for ourselves and our families. In Wyoming, 1 in 5 collisions involve wildlife, 1 in 50 collisions with injuries involve wildlife, and 1 in 100 fatal collisions involve wildlife. These are real dangers for the safety of our highways, but the good news is they are largely preventable.
Photo Jackson Hole EcoTours
The 66th Montana legislative session is over. We worked with many others in the conservation community to stop a variety of harmful wildlife bills and ensure a few positive bills made it to the finish line. My colleague Shana Drimal and I frequently traveled to Helena and worked with a full-time lobbyist to protect the wildlife of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Thanks for calling your legislators and making your voice heard for the wildlife of Greater Yellowstone.
As the tranquilized moose snored away, GYC Wildlife Program Coordinator Chris Colligan supported her massive head and monitored her breathing while she was fitted with a new GPS-tracking collar. A former Wyoming Game and Fish (WGFD) employee, Chris is no stranger to working with wild animals. What is relatively new to Chris is all the progress being made to incorporate wildlife crossings on roads around the state of Wyoming and beyond.
The Greater Yellowstone Coalition is committed to visiting with the ranchers of the Ruby Valley to hear their stories, focusing on their livestock and carnivore encounters. While we know that grizzlies are expanding and ranchers are in their path, we don’t know what’s happening on the ground. Montana Conservation Coordinator Darcie Warden and I are leading the charge to lend an ear and learn about what ranchers and their employees need to live and thrive on the landscape with grizzly bears.
After years of hard work and collaboration, the Wyoming Department of Transportation has finally released a license plate that benefits wildlife migrations and driver safety. The majority of the license plate fee goes directly to the Wildlife Conservation Fund to aid efforts throughout the state.
As the popularity of winter recreation continues to expand across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem it is up to us to recreate responsibly. Fortunately it isn’t very hard to help give wildlife a chance to endure in winter. By staying out of established Habitat Protection Areas we avoid stressing animals, helping them conserve those critical fat reserves they are relying on through late April. These areas represent a small fraction of the overall terrain available to human recreationists, a small sacrifice for the future of the GYE.