Monday, January 31, 2011
Just couldn't do another Pronghorn in the snow photo so I am using this one to think of better days. I found out this morning that at least another 70 animals were struck by a train in one event this weekend, plus another 30 or so in a different incident. This pushes the known direct mortality from train strikes to nearly 400 Pronghorn in the last few weeks. Certainly there are additional indirect mortalities associated with these events along with mortalities associated with starvation, predation, and vehicle strikes that push the loss of animals even higher.
This is a killer winter where the impacts of landscape changes are most evident and detrimental for most of the big game animals in this area. Continuing changes to the landscape inhibit the movement of animals and leaves them stuck in areas where they are unable to survive. These changes are not as evident during most winters, but when the chips are down and the animals need to be able to move easily to survive, the impacts are amplified. The effects of these incidents and landscape changes on these populations is going to be felt for a long time.