By the Numbers

31%

Percentage of the mule deer population lost since 1991

400%

Percentage increase in applications for permits to drill in the last five years according to the Wyoming Oil and Gas Commission

242

The record-breaking number of miles traveled by a mule deer that holds the record for the longest documented land migration in the lower 48 states.

The Bureau of Land Management continues to lease hundreds of thousands of acres within and adjacent to migration corridors, putting the future of species that migrate from Grand Teton at a crossroads.

Background

Grand Teton and Yellowstone National parks are both part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, comprising one of the largest intact temperate ecosystems left on Earth at nearly 18 million acres. This region is home to some of the most diverse and abundant wildlife populations in existence.

Grand Teton National Park provides refuge for many Northern Rockies species, but their territories don’t end at the park boundaries. In fact, species such as mule deer and pronghorn antelope travel many hundreds of miles each year to feeding and birthing grounds.

Spoiling Park Resources

[SPOILED PARKS] GRTE interior map

Development around Grand Teton National Park. (click map to enlarge) + Click to download (PDF)

Over the past decade, there has been a striking decline in the mule deer population in Wyoming as a result of habitat loss associated with energy development. Current estimates show mule deer numbers 46 percent below the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s recommendations for a healthy population.

In February 2018, then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued a secretarial order to “improve habitat quality and western big game winter range and migration corridors for antelope, elk and mule deer.” However, the administration continues to sacrifice wildlife migration in favor of oil and gas interests. An analysis conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity found that in 2018, the Department of the Interior offered 1.2 million acres of pronghorn and mule deer winter habitat and migration corridors in the state of Wyoming to oil and gas development.

The Trump administration is interpreting its own migration order to mean that they will only defer leasing on a parcel if 90 percent of it falls within a wildlife corridor, a number that is arbitrary and unsupported by science. Oil and gas development along wildlife corridors would be devastating for species. Often, once a species encounters new roadblocks within its path, it disrupts foraging and breaks apart the herd, making it that much harder to reach their destination.

Resources Threatened

  • 7bc9db0b 3e8d 4c9d b433 f22e5602b534 original
    Wildlife
  • 9ae2c28f bea6 4155 b4b0 8b486447e4c5 original
    Visitor experience
  • 70434671 01b5 45c9 b8b7 ff14685edf98 original
    Outdoor recreation economy
Stamp donate

Make a tax-deductible gift today to provide a brighter future for our national parks and the millions of Americans who enjoy them.

Donate Now