Train collides with 64 pronghorn north of Hamer

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Train collides with 64 pronghorn north of Hamer

Pronghorn, Getty Images
Pronghorn, Getty Images

Post Register, Februrary 3, 2020

Press Release, Idaho Department of Fish and Game 

By James Brower, Regional Communications Manager Monday, February 3, 2020 – 2:36 PM MST   

On  the morning of Feb. 3 the Fish and Game office in Idaho Falls received a  report from railroad employees regarding a train collision with a herd  of pronghorn north of Hamer. About 45 pronghorn were reported killed by  the collision and another 19 were severely injured and had to be  dispatched by F&G staff. There are no reports of any human injury.

Conservation Officers and other staff have responded to the scene to  salvage any edible meat and dispatch the injured animals. Any edible  meat will be distributed to needy families and food banks throughout the  region.

“We have had these sad situations happen before during big snow  events,” says Curtis Hendricks Wildlife Manager for the region. “These  pronghorn are unable to cross the freeway fence as they migrate west and  unfortunately they ended up on the tracks where the snow isn’t as  deep.”

Animals unwilling to cross Interstate 15 in the area often congregate  on the plowed railroad tracks that are in close proximity and parallel  the freeway. Fish and Game identifies Interstate 15 as a likely  impediment to east-west big game migration between traditional winter  and summer ranges.

Pronghorn are built for speed and often choose to duck under fences rather than jumping over them.

Note: this story has been updated and numbers revised after initial reports.