Wyoming Migration Initiative
Published on Aug 20, 2019
Our cartography team at the University of Oregon InfoGraphics Lab has created a 3D visualization to show the challenges of that Deer 255 faces in her migration, and how people have acted to conserve the Red Desert to Hoback migration corridor.
Here’s the backstory: In 2016, our team of University of Wyoming biologists discovered a record-breaking mule deer in Wyoming. A collared doe migrated from southwest Wyoming to eastern Idaho, 242 miles, one-way.
We lost track of her in fall 2016 due to a GPS collar malfunction, but then by chance we found her again in winter 2018. She completed two migrations last year, and this spring made the same journey again.
This route is used by about 1,000 mule deer, but most of them stop after 150 miles. Deer 255 is the only deer we know of that goes so far. She’s slightly larger than average, but what makes her amazing is her knowledge of such a vast migration route, from the deserts of Wyoming, to the forests of Idaho.
In all likelihood, she learned this route from her mother, who inherited it from past generations of deer that optimized their migrations to exploit the resources of the landscape — and survived because of it.
To have such a migration still exist today is a testament to the conservation of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and many land managers including private property owners and ranchers, the Bureau of Land Management – Wyoming, U.S. Forest Service-Bridger-Teton National Forest, U.S. Forest Service – Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
Deer 255 continues to surprise us. Watch to the end to see what she did this year, a move that defies the norm for mule deer behavior.
If you like this film, please share to spread the word about Wyoming’s amazing migrations.
You can read about 255’s journey here: https://www.hcn.org/issues/50.14/wildlife-the-long-strange-trip-of-deer-255
CARTOGRAPHY BY: Department of Geography, University of Oregon InfoGraphics Lab Thanks to all our partners and funders: Wyoming Game and Fish Department Safari Club International Foundation Muley Fanatic Foundation 10 Country Chapter of The Muley Fanatic Foundation Muley Fanatic Foundation, Southwest Wyoming Chapter Muley Fanatic Foundation, Upper Green Chapter USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Teton Conservation District The Pew Charitable Trusts National Science Foundation (NSF) University of Wyoming Zoology & Physiology Department Knobloch Family Foundation George B. Storer Foundation Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative Wyoming Governors Big Game License Coalition Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit