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Overpass takes animals safely over highway

Overpass takes animals safely over highway
Pronghorn take advantage of safe passage provided by new Highway 191 overpass at Trapper's point in 2012. The overpass will greatly reduce risk of wildlife/vehicle collision. Credit: Jeff Burrell/WCS

TRAPPER'S POINT, Wyo., Oct. 17 (UPI) -- New overpasses over a highway in Wyoming will safeguard both wildlife and people by preventing animal-auto accidents, conservationists say.

Several highway animal overpasses have been completed where the 93-mile migration route of pronghorn antelope between wintering grounds in the Upper Green River Basin and summering grounds in Grand Teton National Park cross Highway 191, the Wildlife Conservation Society reported Tuesday.

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Known as the "Path of the Pronghorn," it is the first and so far only federally designated migration corridor in the United States, a society release said.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation used data from tracking collars to determine Trapper's Point on Highway 191 has historically been a "bottleneck" problem area for the pronghorn each year, causing thousands of the animals to cross traffic lanes and create a dangerous situation for humans and wildlife alike.

An overpass at Trapper's Point is one of eight safe passages constructed by WYDOT along a 13-mile stretch of the highway that will accommodate not only pronghorn, but also mule deer, moose, elk and other animals, the society said.

"They eliminate the danger of collisions and will help to preserve a spectacular element of our natural heritage -- the longest mammal migration in the 48 contiguous United States," society conservation scientist Joel Berger said.

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