A recent order issued by Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke directed government agencies to work with states and private landowners to protect migration corridors. While some immediately downplayed it, one scientist who specializes in big game migration research stated the order is based on “solid ecological science.”
In his New York Times op-ed, Arthur Middleton, an assistant professor at the University of California-Berkeley, stated the order “reflects broad support in conservative Western states for protecting a natural wonder important to ecosystems and rural communities.”
He continued by emphasizing the importance of elk migrations in the Yellowstone area: “More than 20,000 elk in at least nine major herds travel these corridors. They are the very same animals park visitors see in summer, but they live 20, 30 or even 50 miles beyond park boundaries in winter, on lands held by the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, state governments and hundreds of private landowners, and used for such things as grazing, hunting, timber harvests and mineral extraction. When I look at this map, I see Yellowstone’s veins and arteries, carrying the blood in and out of its big heart,” wrote Middleton.
Go here to read more from Middleton, including his thoughts on the vital nature of all fronts working together to save America’s wildlife migrations.
(Photo source: Wyoming Migration Initiative)