Train Collision Claims 41 Antelope
Forty-one antelope were killed Nov. 7 when hit by a train near Granger. Green River Wildlife Coordinator Bill Rudd said of the 41 pronghorn antelope killed, there were 14 fawns, 13 does and 14 buck antelope. Fifteen were still alive when Rudd and Wildlife Supervisor Steve DeCecco arrived and had to be put down “The pronghorn got into the fence right of way and could not get out,” said Rudd.
“Fencing of railroad right-of- ways not only creates barriers to movement by pronghorn, they also contribute to mortality when pronghorn do get in and then cannot get out again.”
Although this type of accident is rare, significant numbers of animals are killed per incident. Trains are responsible for a loss of many different species of wildlife.
“As an example, within this same short stretch where the pronghorn were killed we found dead a porcupine, skunk and jackrabbit,” Rudd said. “Losses of deer to the railroad in Nugget Canyon also continue to be a problem and the railroad fences contribute to the problem.”
Rudd adds winter is when these types of losses occur most often because winter conditions concentrate pronghorn into larger groups and snow conditions in the adjacent areas make the snow free tracks an attractive place for pronghorn to run.
“There are no quick fixes to the problem of wildlife mortalities on the highways or train tracks,” he said. “There are some techniques like proper fencing construction and highway underpasses, which can be used to lower mortalities. This requires coordination with other government agencies, Wyoming Department of Transportation, Union Pacific Railroad, and people.”