Researchers like Northern Arizona University’s Paul Beier, a conservation biology and wildlife ecology professor in the School of Forestry, said this information is critically important to keep animals from stepping into danger or even extinction.
“With climate change, we have the situation where habitat is literally moving out from under the feet of wildlife,” he said. “In order for these species to stay where they are, in terms of a healthy population, they have to move.”
Beier is developing maps detailing links for wild areas—or wildlife corridors—to help land managers understand how animals move across the land.
“We’re creating landscapes that are more permeable than the landscapes we had a decade or two decades ago,” he said.
For Arizona Game and Fish Department wildlife biologist Jeff Gagnon, the job of collaring an elk is somewhat like a rodeo event. Within minutes, he and a team of wildlife managers can calm a frightened animal that might weigh as much as a thousand pounds.
“We fit the collar to make sure the animal has some space and isn’t being choked,” he said.
The collar is programmed to fall off in a few months. But in the meantime, every two hours a GPS unit is sending signals to satellites that are sending signals to biologists.
Gagnon has been tracking some 130 elk around major highways including interstates 17 and 40. “We know where the animals are, what kind of habitat they are using and what barriers are stopping them. For a lot of animals when we fragment their habitat, they can’t get to resources like summer or winter range. We also run the risk of isolating or breaking up the herd, which can lead to a smaller gene pool and a weaker species.”
With information about wildlife movement, highways are becoming less of a hindrance, and safer for wildlife and people. Groups like the Arizona Department of Transportation, Elk Society, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Federal Highway Administration are funding research and passageways.
For example, along State Route 260 near Payson, highway improvement projects have included wildlife crossings. “Animals are using the crossings,” Gagnon said, “and collisions between elk and motorists have been reduced by at least 85 percent.”
Wally Covington, director of NAU’s Ecological Restoration Institute, said managing for wildlife corridors is increasingly important as forests are restored on a landscape scale.
“Across hundreds of thousands of acres, natural habitat can be restored,” he said. “Wildlife can self-regulate. Predator/prey dynamics can keep populations in a sustainable, steady state that’s characteristic of the evolutionary environment.”
Wearing high-tech necklaces, today’s elk may well be leading the way for tomorrow’s wildlife corridors.
“We’re doing something that really matters,” Beier said. “It’s a fabulous triple win situation. It’s better for people, less road kill and more wildlife movement.”
Tracie Hansen | Newswise Science News
Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut
Species Richness – a false friend? Scientists want to improve biodiversity assessments
01.08.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences