BLM partnership protects pronghorns during migration

Pronghorn resemble antelope and migrate annually in the western U.S.
Pronghorn resemble antelope and migrate annually in the western U.S. | File photo

Gridlock impacts wildlife as well as human travelers — so in response to herd holdups along inaccessible fences, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently teamed up with Wyoming authorities to render fencing that's friendlier for migrating pronghorns.

Pronghorn resemble antelope and migrate annually in the western U.S.

The BLM’s Cody field office joined the state’s Departments of Transportation (WYDOT), Game and Fish, plus Friends of a Legacy (FOAL), a nonprofit partnership protecting wild horses and livestock in Wyoming’s McCullough Peaks area for the project.

They replaced sharp-edged barbed wire with wildlife-friendly wire along approximately 3 fenced miles along State Highway 32. Additionally, the team raised the bottommost wire to 16 inches to let pronghorn crawl under it for safe passage.

“Last year, thousands of pronghorn were stacked up along this fence, unable to cross,” BLM wildlife biologist Destin Harrell said. “Thanks to the commitment of groups like FOAL, WYDOT and Game and Fish to making BLM fences more wildlife-friendly, the migrating Carter Mountain pronghorn herd now has better access to its crucial winter range and an improved chance of surviving harsh winters.”

WYDOT and FOAL leaders expressed satisfaction at the chance to work together with BLM for the benefit of wildlife; BLM plans to continue such projects as needed.

“This project was a win-win for BLM, FOAL, the wild horses of the McCullough Peaks and the pronghorn,” FOAL Executive Director Marion Morrison said. 

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