Today, Steve and Jodi are in Laramie, Wyoming, talking with Matt Kauffman and Greg Nickerson with the Wyoming Migration Initiative about their research on ungulate migrations and their new Wild Migrations Atlas that was released earlier this month. Kauffman heads up the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Wyoming. He describes how co-op units are engaged in fish and wildlife conservation science around the country and how his unit helps to provide the science used by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to answer wildlife conservation questions that guide future management decision making. Kauffman and Nickerson outline the migration research that has advanced since the development of new technology GPS collars that provide more regular data points in order to track wildlife movements more consistently. This increased knowledge has allowed researchers to learn about traditional migratory pathways, some of which are well over 100 miles long.They discuss how deer and other ungulates “surf the green wave” as the more nutritious forage regenerates upslope over the course of several weeks in the spring. This strategy has helped to identify important stopover habitat along the migratory routes. One thing that has been unique about the Wyoming Migration Initiative is their ability to communicate this complex information in a way that has actively engaged with the public in ungulate migrations in the state. We talk about how the scientists have used videos and social media outreach to talk about their research and have introduced the public to Jet, Mo and now #255 –mule deer does that are making epic migrations in southwest Wyoming.
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