Researchers at the University of Wyoming are trying to figure out how wind turbines affect antelope and elk. They’ve collared dozens of animals near the town of Medicine Bow and are tracking their movements over the course of several years.
Jeff Beck, who teaches ecosystem science and management, is overseeing the study. He says pronghorn tend to stay away from certain man-made structures … but wind farms are a relatively new phenomenon.
“A couple things we don’t know that led to this study were if the animals avoid the wind turbines and other infrastructure that’s associated with a wind farm like the roads and power lines,” says Beck. “And then kind of secondarily, does that have any effect on the population?”
Beck says it’s important to determine how wind farms affect pronghorn and elk, so that future installations can minimize their impact.