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Migration Routes Require More Conservation

mule deer

Evidence continues to emerge on the migration patterns of animals and how their journeys are made more difficult. Research biologist Hall Sawyer says we should be placing greater focus on the stopover points of migration routes.

Sawyer has been observing the incredible migratory journey of mule deer, a trip that is typically up to 80 miles in distance, for the past few years. In a recent study, Sawyer found that myriad stopping points along the deer’s journey, including areas near Snow King and Horse and Granite Creek are just as critical as their starting and ending points.

Sawyer said realizing that these migratory routes are more than just “conveyor belts” for these animals should aid in a new conservation blueprint.

“When we recognize how important these stopover sites are, it’s possible that we could use a conservation strategy similar to what is used for migratory water fowl or shorebirds, where they protect stopover sites … to maintain these migrations,” Sawyer explained.

This information may also serve as a starting point, Sawyer noted, to begin protecting the routes of other big game as well. – Robyn Vincent

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