(Photo credit: South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks)
MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation allocated $250,000 to advance research associated with mapping more western wildlife migration routes for elk, mule deer, moose, pronghorn antelope and other wildlife.
“By working with state and tribal wildlife agencies, we are producing detailed maps of where animals migrate across large landscapes, which will benefit the health of these herds and aid the conservation of their corridors” said Matt Kauffman, wildlife biologist and researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and University of Wyoming, who leads the Corridor Mapping Team. “RMEF has been a steadfast supporter of this work and a key NGO partner in our collaborative vision to map ungulate migrations across the West.”
Migration maps help guide development, determine the need for roadway crossing structures, target problematic fencing and identify critical private lands that support migratory herds.
Over the last five years, researchers mapped nearly 200 corridors across Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming in line with Secretarial Order 3362.
RMEF supplied grant funding to catalog 150 corridors in Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3 of the USGS mapping series “Ungulate Migrations of the Western United States.” Volume 4, due to be published in January 2024, documents the movements of 40 more herds.
“Advancing science to enhance the conservation and successful management of elk and other wildlife is key to who we are and our strategic priorities as a hunter-based conservation organization,” said Fred Lekse, RMEF Board of Directors chair. “Migration is required for abundant and healthy herds, which sustains hunting.”
This latest commitment boosts RMEF’s financial support to identify and conserve migration corridors over the last six years alone to more than $3.5 million, which leveraged $29.5 million in partner funding.
Just last month, RMEF and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies committed $1.2 million to accelerate the conservation of western big game migration corridors.
About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded more than 39 years ago and fueled by hunters, RMEF maintains more than 225,000 members and has conserved more than 8.7 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.