Pronghorn Fence Crossing Enhancement
Having evolved on the prairies of North America, pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) have not developed an instinct to jump vertical obstacles. The proliferation of fencing that followed cattle ranching into Alberta poses a serious barrier to pronghorn movement (Gates et al. 2012). Pronghorn may cross under fence lines in some locations, but it slows down their movement, making them susceptible to predators and in some cases strips hair off their back, causing lacerations and making them vulnerable to infection and frostbite (Jones 2014). Pronghorn also may become entangled in fences and perhaps become trapped and die (Gates et al. 2012). A solution is to replace the bottom wire with double-stranded smooth wire and move it up to 46 cm; however, this is expensive and takes a lot of effort.
To help alleviate this problem, AFGA initiated a project in 2009, which ACA has provided assistance with. The project works with private landowners in southeastern Alberta to actively convert existing barbed-wire fences to wildlife-friendly fences. The primary objective for this project is to increase permeability within the pronghorn migration corridor in southern Alberta and reduce associated stress to wildlife, physical injury, and even death that can be caused by high densities of current barbed-wire fences. This ongoing effort benefits pronghorn and deer by 2 reducing barriers to seasonal movements and enabling wildlife to move throughout the landscape easier, without the associated stress and physical harm that animals endure when forced to cross underneath barbed-wire fences.
Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Fish & Game Association
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