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Caught on Camera!

Using cameras to help protect wildlife

Pronghorn may be the fastest land animal in North America, but they're lousy jumpers. In fact,  they are stopped in their tracks by the wrong kind of fence. Data collected by researcher Andrew Jakes indicates that pronghorn have spent more than a week walking along impassable fence lines. That can be dangerous.

“They’re burning a lot of calories, which may not directly kill them but makes their chances for mortality much higher,” according to TNC Science Director Brian Martin.

Fences can also present fatal obstacles to young animals unable to get over or under them. Greater Sage-grouse often don't see thin wires and collide with them at high speeds, usually causing their deaths.

For years, The Nature Conservancy has been modifying fences to make wildlife movement easier, but with thousands of miles of fence strung across the state, knowing where and how to change fences is critical. One of the tools helping us figure that out is the remote camera. These sturdy digital cameras are mounted on fence posts at strategic locations at our Matador Ranch. The images they record are helping us observe how animals react to fences and the modifications we try to make them more wildlife-friendly. We get a LOT of pictures of cows, but also some pretty good shots of wildlife in its element.

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