In Wyoming, study shows larger habitat disruption by energy development

CWD was first documented in the wild in Montana in a mule deer buck killed in Carbon County in 2017. Since then, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has facilitated the testing of thousands of hunter-killed game to find where CWD is occurring in the state and how prevalent it is in certain populations. (USFWS)

CASPER, Wyo. — A study indicates that disruptions caused by oil and gas development on Wyoming habitat where mule deer forage can expand beyond the immediate perimeters of a well pad.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported that the study by University of Wyoming researchers concludes that nearly 5 acres are also compromised for every acre with energy development.

Researchers monitored 146 deer near energy sites in the Green River Basin. The study found that deer foraging declined by more than 10% from human activity at energy sites.

Lead scientist Samantha Dwinnell says avoidance behavior by deer leads to an indirect habitat loss in additional to the direct loss from oil and gas development.

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