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Study: Wyo. Herds May Suffer from Gas Development

Pronghorn antelope, oil tower in background.

According to a new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society, pronghorn in Wyoming are moving away from their wintering grounds because of natural gas development along the Pinedale anticline. The study warns that 50 percent of North American pronghorn call Wyoming home and the animals can only lose so much wintering range before the population begins to decline. Pronghorn at risk include the herd of Grand Teton National Park, which endures the longest overland migration route in the continental U.S.  Jon Beckmann is one of the authors of the study. Looking toward future natural gas development, Beckmann noted that PXP’s proposed drilling in the Hoback Basin may not affect pronghorn wintering grounds but it could alter their migration route. “There’s a lot of possibilities,” Beckmann said. “It could be that animals would habituate to the gas infrastructure and continue the migration, but it’s more likely the animals would either show shifts in the actual migration route and go around a gas field development or in a worst-case scenario if the density is developed high enough it could actually sever that migration route.”

View the study here. – Robyn Vincent

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