Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Wyoming Migration Initiative

Mule Deer crossing highway


July 2012 - June 2021


Wyoming is home to wide-open spaces and abundant ungulate populations, many of which still maintain
their long-distance seasonal migrations. These epic, terrestrial migrations are to many a symbol of
Wyoming’s vast intact landscapes. Indeed, it is the predictable change – in weather, soil, and plants – as
one travels from the plains up to the mountains that ungulates seek to exploit by migrating each spring
and fall. These migrations, like the vast landscapes on which they occur, are a vital part of Wyoming’s
cultural heritage. Recent research at the University of Wyoming has broken new ground in our
understanding of Wyoming’s ungulate migrations, raising awareness of the ecological benefits of these
seasonal journeys, their rarity in a global context, and of the threats they face amid accelerating land-use
There is considerable interest in conserving ungulate migration routes in Wyoming and the West. Nearly
every state and federal agency that manages wildlife in Wyoming, and the many environmental NGOs
and land trusts that work in the state, list “conserving ungulate migration routes” as a top priority. Still,
remarkably, no comprehensive story has ever been told of Wyoming’s extraordinary ungulate migrations.
We have initiated a project to create a Wyoming Atlas of Wildlife Migration to help draw attention to the
amazing journeys of Wyoming’s migratory ungulates, to synthesize disparate spatial data on migration,
and to elevate awareness of this ecological phenomenon as a means of advancing conservation and
management efforts. We envision this will be as much a resource for the wildlife-minded citizen of
Wyoming as it will for a state or federal agency biologist or state legislator – that is, we will take care to
produce an Atlas that is captivating and accessible but also ecologically comprehensive. It will be a
resource for all kinds of people to learn about and become excited about the diversity of Wyoming’s
ungulate migrations and the landscapes they depend on. The Atlas will be published as a large format
reference book, but the entire content of the Atlas will be accessible online in a more interactive format
(with animations, interviews, and other links).

Research Products and Activities

Technical Publications

  • 2012 Progress Report - WY Migration Initiative (6.13)Abstract |

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 101

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 154

Post Docs: 55

University Staff: 241

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 695

Scientific Publications: 1962

Presentations: 4417



Funding Agencies

  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Community Foundation of Jackson Hole
  • Crowdfunding (UW Foundation)
  • Foundation for North American Wild Sheep
  • Knobloch Foundation
  • McKnight Foundation
  • Muley Fanatics Foundation - Commissioner's Tag
  • Private Sponsor
  • Private Sponsors
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
  • Storer Foundation
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • University of Wyoming
  • University of Wyoming - Berry Biodiversity Center
  • US Forest Service
  • WY-WSF - Commissioner's Tag
  • Wyoming Community Foundation
  • Wyoming Department of Transportation (WY-DOT)
  • Wyoming Game & Fish Department Commissioner's Tag
  • Wyoming Game and Fish Department
  • Wyoming Wildlife: The Foundation


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey