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Elk breaking boundaries on Highway 89

Construction crews are building a wildlife-proof fence that will force wildlife to use underpasses on Wyoming Highway 89, south of Jackson. But, the fence is not complete and some animals, primarily elk, are finding their way onto the highway right-of-way and may not easily find one of the openings that allow them back out.

Wyoming Game and Fish and the Wyoming Department of Transportation are asking motorists to be alert in the construction area. Mobile electronic signs have been placed at both ends of the construction zone and personnel have been doing their best to help guide elk out of the right-of-way. The situation is at its worst for the next few weeks, while elk are migrating to their winter areas.

“This fence and the crossing structures are all new for the migrating elk this fall and until the fence is complete and functioning properly, we’re all going to have to work together to try and avoid collisions with wildlife,” said South Jackson Game Warden Kyle Lash.

Wildlife and highway officials expect the fence to force most animals to a safe crossing, once its complete next spring. For the few animals that do find their way onto the highway, there will be wildlife “jumps” installed in the fence line that allow animals to jump from a ledge out of the right-of-way, but not back in.

“It will likely be a learning process for the animals for a year or two,” said Lash. “But when they figure out the safe crossings, it’s going to be a great thing for wildlife, and motorists.”

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