Video of the First Federally Protected Wildlife Corridor: the Pronghorn Path

Candice Gaukel Andrews October 16, 2014 18

In May 2008, the Path of the Pronghorn became the first federally designated wildlife corridor in the United States. In 2012, a new overpass was constructed. ©From the video “Path of the Pronghorn.”

For nearly 6,000 years, pronghorn have made an annual migration from their summer range around the highlands of Grand Teton National Park to their wintering grounds, located about 170 miles south in the sagebrush-covered Upper Green River Valley near the town of Pinedale, Wyoming. But today, land development, large-scale energy enterprises, fences and roads are jeopardizing the ability of the animals to continue their traditional way of life.

The route the pronghorn take—one of the longest terrestrial mammal migrations in North America and the longest left in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem—is known as the Path of the Pronghorn. It became the first federally designated wildlife corridor in the United States on May 31, 2008. Unfortunately, U.S. Highway 191 cuts across that course in a very narrow and dangerous spot just west of Pinedale. Along a 12-mile stretch of road here, an average of 140 pronghorn and mule deer are killed each year.

In October 2012, a new, highway-crossing structure was built to help lessen the toll on the ungulates. The question, however, was: would the pronghorn be able to negotiate the newly designed overpass? The stakes were high; if the pronghorn balked, one of the West’s most iconic species could vanish forever from one of our most scenic national parks.

Watch the eight-minute video below, produced by NineCaribou Productions for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Discover what happened when the first group of pronghorn encountered the new overpass.

Here’s to finding your true places and natural habitats,

Candy

18 Comments »

  1. Nicolo Famiglietti October 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this, Candice. I’ll be forwarding the link to this video as well as the link to your site to friends keenly interested in preserving wildlife.

  2. David Pizzuti October 21, 2014 at 10:04 am - Reply

    This is very encouraging! While our organization has not yet engaged in such a project, I can envision doing so at some point in the future. Nice work!

  3. Dimitri Tabi October 20, 2014 at 7:47 am - Reply

    Good initiatives for wiildlife protection; congratulations

  4. Zachary Pesch October 20, 2014 at 7:47 am - Reply

    I have had a strong interest in wildlife corridors for a few years now and it’s always great to see one actually built. There are so many areas in the U.S. that needs these, but the funds seem to always be absent.

  5. John Fournier October 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    Always a pity to see species that survived the Clovis and Folsom cultures smashed on the side of the road by supposedly “advanced” people of the current age. Glad to see this corridor protected.

  6. Nadine K. October 18, 2014 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    FINALLY! Someone’s finally thinking of what the wildlife need! Now if we’d only smarten up to begin with & build smarter so that we don’t 1st desecrate wildlife migration routes to the point where we then have to come up w overpasses 2 rectify our mistakes, needlessly upsetting & killing already endangered wildlife!

  7. Larry Tyler October 18, 2014 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Great Post. We have several groups in SC working on conservation projects. Orvis has done a few big ones. Thanks again.

  8. Larry Wan, Western Alliance for Nature October 18, 2014 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    So glad to see this. My wildlife conservancy is trying to get a crossing for the fragmented Santa Monica Mountains Ecosystem. The cougar is our poster child apex species for building this crossing. Please see: http://www.wanconservancy.org/los_angeles_projects.php
    Any help from the WCS or others in terms of support or suggestions.

  9. Carolyn Renaud October 18, 2014 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    The highway overpass is cool and should be a standard part of highway design (it is used extensively in places like the UK as well). If we can find a way to consider wildlife in all our development, we’ll all live better and healthier lives. Unfortunately, fracking, oil pipelines, natural gas and oil drilling are a threat to human health and habitat as well as to that of wildlife. Let preserving wildlife habitat and way of life help humans to find a healthier path of our own everywhere we make development and resource exploitation choices.They are our canaries in the coal mine.

  10. Lucas Noldus October 18, 2014 at 2:14 am - Reply

    Great video! I would love to analyze the pronghorn movement with our TrackLab software. If WCS is interested in that, I would like to get in touch.

  11. Beth Sigren October 17, 2014 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    Beautiful story that reminds us to hope amidst the rest

  12. Teresita Bastides-Heron October 17, 2014 at 10:46 am - Reply

    It is great.

  13. Saka O. Jimoh October 17, 2014 at 8:07 am - Reply

    This is spectacular!. It may encourage greater advocacy for similar exercise elsewhere. Thanks for sharing it.

  14. Roberto Martínez Orosa October 17, 2014 at 5:55 am - Reply

    I wish this project becomes an example of corridors protection. The fragmentation and disappearence of the habitat are the main threats for wildlife survival.

  15. Charles Rahm October 17, 2014 at 5:52 am - Reply

    Interesting video, thanks.

  16. Thomas Sawyer October 17, 2014 at 5:47 am - Reply

    Pretty cool indeed-hopefully we will see a trend in such a concept and more will be built.

  17. Paula Plett Dimattio October 16, 2014 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    This is so awesome , Wish you could get BLM to look at this and figure out how to leave the wild horses to their own destiny with a new route , instead of unnecessary roundups.

  18. Kendra Leah Fuller October 16, 2014 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing, Candice. It’s wonderful to see that this is working.

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