Let’s keep our wildlife safe around our highways

I mentioned last week there’s a bill coming up in the legislature to authorize a license plate that will generate funds for preventing wildlife-vehicle collisions. But that bill needs some help from people like you.

House Bill 39 in this year’s legislature is one a lot of wildlife enthusiasts are excited about. The bill would allow the Department of Transportation to offer a new option for Wyoming license plates.

This one would feature a big game animal on it for the image, and $100 from the sale of each set of plates would go to a fund to help pay for wildlife road crossings.

The Muley Fanatics Foundation is one of the groups supporting the bill. Josh Coursey, the organization’s president, said on average, 2,800 big game animals and another 1,800 other wildlife species are killed on Wyoming’s roads each year. That’s just the ones WYDOT scoops up. Who knows how many more are hit and then go off to die where nobody finds them.

Furthermore, one in 15 highway deaths to people in Wyoming involve wildlife. But the underpasses and overpasses at Trapper’s Point between Pinedale and Daniel Junction have reduced collisions with mule deer by 79 percent, and crashes with antelope have been nearly eliminated entirely.

We need more crossings like these, both to protect our wildlife and ourselves. And this license plate bill would help with that, by gathering funding from people who choose to pay for it.

To learn more about it, attend one of the Wildlife Roadways Tour events. It’ll be at Cowboy Coffee in Jackson on Wednesday, the Bighorn Sheep Center in Dubois on Thursday, at the Coalter Loft in Lander on Saturday, Studio City Cinema East in Casper on Feb. 7, and at Laramie County Library in Cheyenne on Feb. 8. All events will start at 6 p.m. And then let your legislator know you want these plates.