Mongolian officials look to western Montana wildlife crossings as model

Missoulian | By Martin Kidston

EVARO – The drone of traffic created a constant roar on U.S. Highway 93 early Monday as a delegation of Mongolian government officials joined scientists in climbing an earthen bank spanning the roadway.

Animal tracks left in the mud told them they weren’t alone. A few deer had moved over the crossing earlier in the morning. Moose, bobcats and bears weren’t far behind.

“With underpasses and overpasses, different species have different preferences for the type of structure they like to use,” said Marcel Huijser, a research ecologist at Montana State University, who joined the Wildlife Conservation Society’s multiday tour. “This is a long-term vision if grizzly bears are to strengthen their existing small populations, or recolonize areas where they used to be, decades ago.

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