JACKSON, WY — Another young moose was euthanized last night after being struck by a car on Highway 390. Eyewitnesses say the young cow was hit almost exactly where a young bull was struck and killed less than a week ago, Sunday night.
If Sunday’s accident started a commotion, last night’s was the icing on the cake. After Sunday’s accident, crowds of wildlife advocates showed up to a Joint Information Meeting (JIM) with wildlife masks and heads to offer silent support of a wildlife crossing Specific Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) ballot item. This morning, more wildlife allies are taking to social media to vocalize their support of wildlife crossings.
“It’s a well-oiled machine,” Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance Field Organizer Ryan Nourai said of the almost formulaic response to moose fatalities. Well-oiled, he noted, because it’s so practiced.
“Unfortunately, animals are dying, and it’s spurring people to reach out. But it’s functioning very well.”
Since last night, Nourai has received six texts from people asking what they can do. The Conservation Alliance is fielding more and more phone calls and emails of a similar nature. Greater Yellowstone Coalition and Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation, who work with the Alliance on wildlife-related issues, are seeing increased support from members and allies. People are ready for change. What that change looks like is still up in the air.
“We can do better than this,” wildlife guide company Jackson Hole EcoTour Adventures posted on Instagram this morning. The caption accompanied a photo of a deceased moose under a sign that says “share the road.”
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We don’t think this is what Sharing the Road looks like. This is the second moose killed in one week at the site of proposed wildlife crossings near the HWY 22 and 390 Junction in Jackson Hole. We can do better than this. If you support making the roads safer for both wildlife and people please contact the Teton County Commission and Jackson Town Council. Ask them to include Wildlife Crossings at the FULL $15 million funding amount in the Special Purpose Excise Tax election. Let’s get to work. . firstname.lastname@example.org (307) 733-8094 email@example.com 307-733-3932, ext. 1000 . Photos from this morning by guide @mattydinthegye @tetoncounty @townofjacksonwy @greateryellowstone @wildlifecrossingsjh @jhalliance @jhwildlifefoundation #wildlifecrossingsjh #moose #jacksonhole #visitjh
“We don’t think this is Sharing the Road looks like,” the post reads. If you support making the roads safer for both wildlife and people, please contact the Teton County Commission and Jackson Town Council. Ask them to include Wildlife Crossings at the FULL $15 million funding amount in the Special Purpose Excise Tax election. Let’s get to work.”
But $15 million is a big price tag. Sticker shock played a big role in the 2017 SPET ballot and subsequent discussions. Wildlife crossings are one of 14 proposed SPET projects, and not everything can make it to the ballot. As it stands, the current list of SPET initiatives totals more than $163 million, which would take until 2033 to pay off.
Still, there is clearly an appetite for change, no matter the cost. “Our polling shows from four years ago, and just from preliminary canvassing we’ve been doing, there’s incredible reception,” Nourai told Buckrail after Sunday’s fatality.
Wyoming Game and Fish collared 10 moose this spring go gather data for this very reason — to figure out where moose cross the highway so they can help WYDOT rebuilt the Highway 22/390 intersection. It’s notoriously the most dangerous spot for moose. A Buckrail reader suggested using reflective collars, which Game and Fish Public Information Specialist Mark Gocke has never heard of but is willing to research. The problem, of course, is that they can’t collar every moose. Neither of the two young moose hit this week were collared.
“Gosh darn, it’s just really frustrating,” Gocke said. “It’s really disappointing and frustrating.”
The final SPET discussion is Tuesday, June 11 at 6 p.m. in the Town Hall, 150 E. Pearl.
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