Some animals got a lift on Friday as the Division of Wildlife Resources used a helicopter to perform a study on how wildlife is using the new animals-only overpass at the top of Parleys Summit on Interstate 80, which opened in December 2018.
Taking off from the upper parking lot at Little Dell Reservoir off State Highway 65, the team captured five moose, five elk and 10 deer near the overpass on Friday. Cameras posted along the bridge have caught numerous species using the bridge, which is designed to keep wildlife away from cars and trucks speeding through Parleys Canyon. The study is meant to help better assess the effectiveness of the project. Most of the animals were processed where they were temporarily captured using a net shot from the helicopter. The team performed a wellness check, drew blood, checked if any of the females were pregnant and equipped each animal with a GPS collar to track their movements.
“The collars give us a point every couple of hours,” said veterinarian Annette Roug, as she finished up with the last deer of the day. The transmission from the collars are expected to last three years and will help determine if the animals have home ranges on either side of the freeway during different times of the year.