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As many suspected, this was a deadly winter for wildlife. The arctic blast in March was tough on animals as their nutrition stores ran low. It was also expected to have a big effect on pregnant females. Now that things are thawing out, we are seeing the results. Wyoming Fish and Game had collared 100 pronghorn antelope in 2018. Nearly half of them died this winter.

Wyoming Fish and Game released the following information:

Saratoga Wildlife Biologist Teal Cufaude assisted with the ongoing Shirley Basin pronghorn study by
investigating five collared pronghorn mortalities and recovering GPS collars. The goal of this study is to evaluate wind energy development influences on pronghorn habitat use.

Winter has proven to be difficult for these collared pronghorn with total mortality losses at 41 animals out of 100 collared pronghorn since the study began in 2018. Winter mortality is normal for pronghorn, but the prolonged winter conditions Shirley Basin pronghorn experienced in 2018/2019 could be playing a large factor in the higher mortality rate.

Three of the five pronghorn carcasses Cufaude investigated in April had bone marrow that appeared red in color, transparent, and gelatinous, indicating they were in very poor nutritional condition. The cause of death for the other two animals could not be determined.

Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Researchers and Game and Fish Biologists hope to collar additional pronghorn later this year to make up for the winter losses and continue the study.

– WGFD –

You can read the original press release from Wyoming Game and Fish Department here.

Have you noticed population changes in your area?

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