(ORDO NEWS) — A new study shows how the development of energy – gas production – disrupts the movement of deer, causing them to lose the ability to match their food with a wave of spring’s most nutritious plants.
The work was carried out by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the University of Wyoming.
“Mule deer are known for how precisely they coordinate their movements with spring germination, so this result was particularly striking,” said study lead author Ellen Aikens. “The gas wells have caused them to miss out on the best food of the year.”
Every spring in the American West, mule deer migrate in the wake of plants sprouting at different heights.
However, a new study has found that the development of industrial energy disrupts this movement, causing deer to lose the ability to match their food with a wave of spring’s most nutritious plants.
Over the entire study period, dozens of new methane wells were drilled in the middle of the existing mule deer corridor.
Data on long-term movements made it possible to compare the impact of development expansion on reindeer movements before and after.
Over time, the intensity of development increased, and the deer began to “lag” when they reached the gas wells.
They paused their spring migration and let a wave of green vegetation pass them by, breaking away from their best food resources at a critical time of the year.
The boreholes resulted in a 38.65% reduction in the number of migrating deer.
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