Roadkill migration study underway in Idaho

Mule deer roadkill study

Photo credit: Dreamstime 

A new migration study is underway to determine which busy highways impact wildlife crossings the most. The project, which began earlier this summer, is funded via $25,000 from the U.S. Forest Service and is specifically looking at “collision hotspots” along U.S. Highway 20 and State Highway 87 in eastern Idaho, the Associated Press reports.

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According to the Forest Service, “75% of historical migration routes” have been lost for elk, bison and antelope in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. While many historic migration routes are still used in Freemont County, there’s a “high rate of wildlife-vehicle collisions.” In fact, last year, Freemont County residents voted not to build structures that would alleviate wildlife-vehicle collisions due to the impact these structures posed to property values. However, according to CBS 2 News staff, in 2019, there were 434 roadkills/savage reports for the Idaho county and included whitetail deer, elk, mule deer and other wildlife.

The federal-state migration study uses volunteers who identify the dead animals along these highways. The hope is through this data that the Idaho Transportation Department will “understand wildlife-road conflicts through the Caribou-Targhee National Forest,” according to the Associated Press.


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