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Wildlife managers says animals are having a tough winter

Western Wyoming wildlife managers are calling on the public to help protect wintering animals. In a Jackson news conference Thursday, experts outlined ways to address human-wildlife interactions on roads, in neighborhoods, on pathways, and on public lands. Those participating included the Wyoming Department of Transportation, Wyoming Game and Fish, Teton County, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, and the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Officials said this winter has proven extra difficult for ungulates due to deep snow and prolonged cold temperatures. They stressed that their survival is all about energy conservation until plants green-up this spring. Mortality rates are expected to be high. However, they said the winter is not unprecedented and experts said wildlife populations will eventually rebound. In the meantime, there are more carcasses around the region. That will benefit some animals, like eagles and raptors, but will also attract predators like mountain lions, wolves and bears. Bears will begin to emerge from their dens around the first of March. The agencies offered these general recommendations: a. Slow down when driving and be extra cautious in areas where animals have been observed b. Don’t Poach the Powder. Know what areas are closed or restricted to protect wintering wildlife c. Dog control is essential. Comply with leash requirements where they exist on public lands and pathways d. Give animals extra space even if they don’t appear stressed. Don’t approach wildlife. e. Don’t feed wildlife for safety of people and wildlife. County regulations prohibit feeding wildlife.

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