Humans, pipelines stall animal migration

March 12, 2004 at 8:58 PM
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CHEYENNE, Wyo., March 12 (UPI) -- U.S. animal migration in places like the Yellowstone National Park are being cut off by encroaching human habitation and energy plants and pipelines.

As a result of the migration problem, the Wildlife Conservation Society has issued a report calling for the establishment of "national migration corridors" to protect the routes these animals have used for the last 5,800 years, the New Scientist reported Friday.

Virtually every large, migrating North American animal outside of Alaska lives in Yellowstone ecosystem, but many of their migration routes are being truncated because of human habitation and energy facilities, a report said.

Joel Berger with the Wildlife Conservation Society says that 100 percent of bison routes, 78 percent of pronghorn antelope routes and 58 percent of elk migration routes have been lost.

Most of Yellowstone pronghorn, for example, pass through an 800 meter-wide bottleneck in Wyoming known as Trapper's Point -- an area now being developed for oil and gas.

Bison no longer migrate from Yellowstone at all. Those that attempt to move into Montana are shot because ranchers fear the spread of brucellosis to cattle.

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