Category Archives: The Nature Conservancy of Montana

Antelope in a Barbed Wire World

Look out your window.  You see that barbed wire fence surrounding your home or ranch?  You might have to modify it or take it down altogether.  The fencing may pose a serious threat to wildlife.


In the article, “Conservation group wants Montana ranch fences modified for wildlife” the Helena Independent Record reports that “Remote cameras, installed by The Nature Conservancy of Montana (TNC) at its 60,000-acre Matador Ranch in south Phillips County, are documenting barriers conventional fences pose to wildlife in a project meant to spur modifications that are more “wildlife friendly.””


Antelope in a barbed wire worldAccording to the study, certain animals – such as antelope – do not jump well.  Rather, they crawl underneath and attempt to wriggle through the barbed wire, oftentimes cutting up their bodies and wearing away their fur.  This makes antelope susceptible to the cold and other weather conditions.  While the study does not encourage removal or modifying of all fencing, it does suggest that it would be wise to have some open pathways for such animals.


The TNC does not want barbed wire fencing to change the migration patterns of animals.  They have already spent close to $80,000 on the project and will spend more in 2013.  They have worked with area ranchers and have helped them modify certain portions of their fencing.


The project has drawn criticisms from many hunters who argue that the animals can easily jump over the fence.  However, as it stands, the project will continue.  What do you think?  Is the project wasting money and the energy of area ranchers?  We live in a barbed wire world, hurting ourselves just to get by, but should we modify the fencing on our land to make it wildlife friendly?


For more information about the project, you can find the Herald’s article here.


*Image courtesy of Petr Kratochvil