December 20, 2015



Over  the last 22 years, 2,634 mule deer, 748 elk, and 353 moose have been killed by vehicles in Teton County, Wyoming. The Teton Raptor Center (a raptor rehabilitation facility in Wyoming) specializes in raptor rehabilitation and receives dozens of calls each year related to other bird species, many of which need veterinary and rehabilitative resources. However, their permits and rehabilitation specialization focus exclusively on birds of prey. Out of 280 inquiries regarding injured raptor and non-raptor species compiled between 2010-2015, 20% of calls were regarding human caused injuries such as wildlife-vehicle collision, window or fence strike, or electrocution; additionally 26% of inquiries were concerning nest displaced or orphaned animals. Wyoming Untrapped, a non-profit dedicated to creating an environment safe for people, pets and wildlife, has been compiling data of trapping incidents since 2011. There have been several trapping incidents reported involving non-target wildlife, including one owl and 2 grizzly bears, with many more having gone unreported. With proper rehabilitative care, these animals could have been rehabilitated to ensure their health before being released back to the wild.

In Wyoming, more than 5,000 wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) have been documented every year, on average, over the last three years. These collisions pose a serious threat to highway safety – accounting for 15-18% of all reported collisions. They also have significant negative impacts on wildlife populations – reducing their numbers and impeding their movements through their seasonal ranges and along their migratory corridors. Further, these collisions are costly. All together, deer-vehicle collisions in Wyoming (which make up >85% of all WVCs in the state) total approximately $24-29 million per year in injury and damage costs and an additional $20-23 million per year in lost wildlife value (Riginos and Graham 2015).

Having this information is crucial because it not only shows the frequency of such interactions, but also indicates the extent of opportunity to intervene and potentially rehabilitate these animals.