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Volume 18, Issue 2 p. 83-91
Reviews

Conserving transboundary wildlife migrations: recent insights from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Arthur D Middleton

Corresponding Author

Arthur D Middleton

Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California–Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

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Hall Sawyer

Hall Sawyer

Western Ecosystems Technology Inc, Laramie, WY

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Jerod A Merkle

Jerod A Merkle

Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY

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Matthew J Kauffman

Matthew J Kauffman

US Geological Survey, Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY

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Eric K Cole

Eric K Cole

US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Elk Refuge, Jackson, WY

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Sarah R Dewey

Sarah R Dewey

US National Park Service, Grand Teton National Park, Moose, WY

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Justin A Gude

Justin A Gude

Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Helena, MT

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David D Gustine

David D Gustine

US National Park Service, Grand Teton National Park, Moose, WY

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Douglas E McWhirter

Douglas E McWhirter

Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Jackson, WY

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Kelly M Proffitt

Kelly M Proffitt

Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Bozeman, MT

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PJ White

PJ White

US National Park Service, Yellowstone National Park, Mammoth, WY

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First published: 09 December 2019
Citations: 41

Abstract

Animal migrations are ecologically, culturally, and economically important. Ungulate populations in many parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas migrate long distances to access seasonally available resources, traversing vast landscapes in large numbers. Yet some migrations are declining, raising concerns among scientists and natural resource managers. We synthesize recent advances in ungulate migration ecology with relevance to management and policy. Using case studies from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), we show how new tools can be applied to map ungulate migrations and assess threats across multiple seasonal habitats, serving as a conservation roadmap. To help conserve ungulate migrations, we also propose a transboundary science, policy, and management framework that could be adapted beyond the GYE and that encompasses the needs of multiple species. The key elements of this framework consist of more widespread mapping and assessment of migrations, improved federal and state coordination across jurisdictional lines, increased investment in private land conservation, and strong engagement of local stakeholders positioned to sustain conservation activities over the long term.