Moose study will involve collaring 10 local animals to learn where they go

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) are embarking on a new moose research project to identify moose movements, distribution and behaviors associated with Wyoming highways 22 and 390 between Jackson and Wilson.

Wyoming Game and Fish looking to collar 10 moose in new study. (WGFD)

More specifically, researchers would like to evaluate daily and seasonal movements of moose in this area to identify locations moose select, or avoid, as road crossing locations. These results will be used in design of the Snake River bridge reconstruction and Highway 22/390 intersection reconfiguration scheduled to begin in 2022.

Moose distribution and movements will be recorded through the use of GPS satellite-tracking collars. In the coming weeks, Game and Fish field personnel will be attempting to tranquilize a total of 10 moose in the area to fit them with GPS collars. Depending on their success in darting animals from the ground, there is a chance they also may contract a helicopter wildlife capture crew to net animals from the air that are found in more remote areas, such as islands within the Snake River. The GPS collars will collect location data for a period of 2-3 years.

The area along Highway 22 and 390 from the Town of Jackson to the Idaho-Wyoming state line, especially within the Snake River corridor, is one of the highest documented moose-vehicle collision areas in Wyoming, and the high number of moose killed by vehicles along these two highways presents several challenges.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation aims to provide sound infrastructure with a new bridge, ensure the safety of motorists and facilitate the efficient transportation of an extremely high daily number of vehicles along these highways. WYDOT, in collaboration with Teton County, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation, Teton Conservation District, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Wyoming Game and Fish Department and many other private citizens initiated an effort to address moose-vehicle collisions during the planning phase of the Snake River bridge replacement project.

In 2017, Teton County initiated an unprecedented public collaborative effort to fully understand and evaluate the dynamic of how wildlife interact with the County’s myriad roads and highways.

To further complement and refine this effort, Teton County formulated a citizen advisory group. This group enlisted the assistance of the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) in a collaborative process that identified recommendations to Teton County on how to decrease wildlife-vehicle collisions while retaining important wildlife movements and migration. This citizen advisory committee developed a prioritized ranking of road segments where wildlife crossing should be improved and recommendations of how to do so—Teton County Wildlife Crossings Master Plan, Action Summary (2018). This plan identifies the Highway 22 and 390 intersection and associated Snake River bridge area as the highest priority road segment in Teton County to construct a wildlife crossing structure(s).

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