Wyoming Migration Initiative
SCI Foundation is proud to be a part of this multi-year study by lending support to the Wyoming Migration Initiative (WMI). This project began in 2011 and was intended to examine movements and habitat use in a non-migratory population of mule deer in western Wyoming. What was discovered shocked researchers, as the collared deer were tracked up to 150 miles away from their home range. This officially makes the yearly migration of mule deer the longest in the northern hemisphere. The more we learn, the more local communities can make science-based management decisions to preserve these century-old migrations and manage them through sustainable harvest.
Species involved: Mule Deer
Project partner: University of Wyoming
Total SCIF Investment: $50,000
Year SCIF began involvement: 2018 (Timeline: 2012-2021)
1) Evaluate the costs and benefits associated with different migratory strategies.
2) Understand the herd-level benefit of maintaining a diversity of migration tactics.
3) Monitor the timing of the fall migration to inform wildlife managers how best to harvest the herd.
Long-distance migration is key to productivity of some big game herds; yet, many such movements are declining globally. Wildlife researchers are beginning to piece together not only the benefit of long-distance migration, but also the benefits of maintaining multiple migratory tactics for herd-level performance. Results of this work will have applied benefits for conserving mule deer migration and will advance management of mule deer herds across Wyoming and the American West.
Want to learn more about the project? Visit SCIF’s First for Wildlife blog.