Mule Deer Migration
YouTube:Wyoming Migration Initiative

Scientists Visualize 242-Mile Mule Deer Migration in 3-D

A Wyoming mule deer continues to astound scientists with her journeys.

Most people in western states are familiar with mule deer migrations, especially if you live in a place like Wyoming. The Equality State's deer herd has shown to be adventuresome, traversing the same migration corridor hundreds of miles through some of the wildest areas in North America.

One GPS-collared doe in has proven to be fascinating to scientists, mainly for her 242-mile migration in 2016.

The doe, simply known as "Mule Deer 255" has continued her awesome adventures and now scientists are visualizing it to get across just how amazing this journey is. Watch the four-minute video below to really get an eye-opening look into this animal's activities.

That 242-mile journey in 2016 took her across state lines into Idaho. It's officially the world record distance for a migrating mule deer. Wildlife researchers and officials in both states were shocked when the learned how far this one deer was travelling. As they have continued to monitor her movements, she has mostly kept with the same pattern.

Buckrail, a Jackson Hole-based news organization reports Deer 255 didn't go quite as far last year, only about 200 miles for reasons that are unexplained.  The animal did survive through the season and is likely getting ready to start migrating again right now. The Wyoming Migration Initiative determined the old doe winters in the Red Desert of Wyoming every year before starting her journey back north in the spring. She has eventually returned to Wyoming each year in the fall. At this point, she's roughly seven years old. She gave birth to twin fawns last year and researchers say she's pregnant with twins again this year.

Scientists will be watching Deer 255's journey again this year closely to see if she goes back to Idaho or if she again stops short. The migration has taken her roughly two months to complete each time as she crossed roads and skirted around little outcroppings of civilization along the way.

Her longer journeys took her through Grand Teton National Park and parts of Yellowstone in the past. It all just goes to show we don't really know as much about the animals we share the planet with as we would like to think. We'll be watching closely for news on Deer 255's journeys again this year to see if she breaks her own record for distance travelled while migrating!

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