Published in the Post Register, August 19th, 2019
Last week I stopped for a road-killed moose on the shoulder of US-20 south of Island Park, pulling off in a safe turnout. In life, she would have been a beautiful animal. She had a sleek coat and full udders, indicating she was nursing. Her calf was undoubtedly orphaned by her death.
When I contacted the Department of Fish and Game to report the animal, I learned she was the second moose in a week killed on Ashton Hill. One-hundred-sixty-one large animals were killed on Fremont County Highways in 2018. More than 60 large animals have been killed since Jan. 1 this year.
Soon after I saw the moose, a story about the U.S. Forest Service receiving a grant to conduct a study of roadkill on Fremont County highways hit the news. Conspiracy theorists came out of the woodwork, voicing deep fear and anger over other issues.
Why such hysteria over a study to gather facts and data? I applaud the U.S. Forest Service for seeking the grant. Upon inquiring, I learned the grant was made under a federal program to fund “citizen science projects” — when regular citizens help gather data. It did not take away from funds available for other projects.
I appreciate the U.S. Forest Service seeking more data about roadkill and working with a state agency. I am grateful for the local volunteers who want to help. What is so scary about this?