Fences as Barriers to Wildlife Movement and Migration 

Volunteers on a Wildlife-Friendlier Fencing Project with JHWF

Ungulate killed by entanglement per year for every 2.5 miles of fence

Miles of barbed wire fence on Wyoming's landscape

Making Fences Wildlife-Friendlier

The Snake River Corridor is littered with fencing. Fences often act as barriers which prevent wildlife from moving freely across the landscape.

For example, fencing can redirect animals onto roads, and at worse, even entangle and kill animals. One study found that for ever 2.5 miles of barbed-wire fencing in the West, one ungulate is killed each year after becoming trapped in the wires.

Luckily, even if you have fence on your property, there are simple steps you can take to make your fence “wildlife-friendlier.”

What can I do?

Making a fence “wildlife-friendlier” doesn’t have to be hard. It can as simple as making sure your fence is built to wildlife-friendly standards, with a top rail/wire no higher than 42″ and a minimum of 12″ inches between the top and second wire. When wildlife are entangled in fences, most become trapped in the top two wires while trying to jump the fence, so making sure any wires are correctly spaced and tightness is maintained is also helpful in reducing the odds animals will become entangled in a fence.

You can access full specifications of wildlife friendly fences in the Wyoming Landowner’s Guide to Fences and Wildlife.

If you have a wooden rail fence, simply lowering a rail so that animals like moose and elk can easily step across is an easy solution.


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