Wildlife migration—the act of traveling between seasonal habitats—is widespread among terrestrial species, including many culturally and economically important animals such as mule deer, elk, and pronghorn antelope. However, their ancient routes—which can be thousands of years old—are increasingly crossed by busy roads, subdivisions, and energy development.
The resulting disruption has significant human, economic, and ecological consequences. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, vehicles collide with as many as 2 million large animals each year, resulting in approximately 200 human deaths, 26,000 injuries, and property damage and other costs totaling at least $8 billion annually. And big game herds are declining in several Western states such as Wyoming, where populations of mule deer have plummeted by 40% since 2000.
However, recent advances in science and technology are revolutionizing the way that scientists, policymakers, agency officials, and communities see and understand how wildlife moves across landscapes, providing a critical opportunity to protect essential corridors, wildlife, motorists, and property.
For more information on Pew’s work with partners to conserve key wildlife migration corridors, see the resources below.