Elk Migration Map


I recently came upon this map of elk migration routes in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The Wyoming Migration Initiative based at the University of Wyoming (my alma matre) put it together in order to document elk herd movements in the region surrounding what many consider to be the Lower 48's premier National Park for wildlife.

Take home message: What happens in Yellowstone does not stay in Yellowstone.

Maps like this are simple, but elegant. Its just GPS collar locations (points), land ownership boundaries (polygons), and text labels. But simple maps often tell their story best. This one certainly succeeds in getting its point across.

Wherever you fall on the preservation-conservation spectrum, maps showing actual wildlife movement patterns - which are self evident and difficult to dismiss - are hugely beneficial to landowners, policy makers, those tasked with region-scale corridor planning. The cartographers over at WMI stuck to the facts here. If there are editorial choices that were made, its difficult to see them. We all benefit from maps that let the data speak for itself, whatever the fallout.

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