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The following opinion was written and submitted by Jana Weber of Pinedale, WY.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, Sublette BOCES sponsored a presentation and book signing for Wild Migrations, Atlas of Wyomings’s Ungulates. This book is an impressive body of research that answers questions about the species that migrate from the Red Desert to Yellowstone.
I find it very ironic that just as these scientists have documented the cultural habits of the Sublette mule deer herd, and exact maps of the migration of mule deer, antelope, elk and moose. The state of Wyoming and the federal government have opened 68 proposed oil and gas leases which overlap with corridors or winter range.
If ever there was an opportunity to use the amazing technology and resources to protect these vital animals well being, it is now. The research is done. The maps are made. It is simply up to the state and federal agencies to use these maps to defer leases that will totally disrupt the migration or designate parts of leases as off limits if the migration corridor passes through them.
One thing that these scientists and cartographers did establish is that these animals take exactly the same route year after year. Their migration and grazing are going to be severely compromised if that route is blocked by fences, roads, and industrial structures.
We need to let the BLM and the Wyoming Game and Fish know that we care about these animals and expect more from their stewardship.
Jana Weber (spokesperson for Citizens United for Responsible Energy Development-CURED)