'Pronghorn Passage' at Buffalo Bill Center of the West Tells of
Pronghorn Migration and Conservation Measures to Protect It
Every year, about three hundred pronghorn antelope travel from
summer range in Grand Teton National Park to winter range in
Wyoming’s Green River Basin--a journey that is the longest overland
mammal migration in the continental United States.
Pronghorn Passage, a special exhibition at the
Center of the West, tells the story of the migration,
its perils for the animals, and recent steps taken to protect it in
ways compatible with encroaching oil and gas development.
Cody, WY November 23, 2013 - The core of "Pronghorn Passage" is the
large-format photography of Joe Riis, a National Geographic Young
Explorer who has documented—on foot—the pronghorn’s approximately
150-mile annual migration.
Riis, a biologist and wildlife
photographer, was recently awarded, along with Dr. Arthur Middleton,
the inaugural Camp Monaco Prize to fund a project studying elk
The awareness raised by Riis and Ostlind’s work, as well as that of
others who have called attention to the subject, has given rise to
creative methods to protect the migration corridor, threatened in
recent years by land subdivision and oil and gas development.
Using remote cameras to capture many of the images, Riis set out to
spread awareness of the importance of the migration as well as the
obstacles the pronghorn face during their journey.
Dr. Charles Preston, senior curator at the Center of the West and
founding curator of its Draper Natural History Museum, says, “The
photography in 'Pronghorn Passage' is spectacular, but the story of
this epic migration is even more exciting and inspiring.”
Collaborating with Riis on the project to help tell that story is
Emilene Ostlind, a recent recipient of the Knight-Risser Prize for
Environmental Journalism for her reporting on the pronghorn
The award-winning article from High Country News, “Perilous
Passages,” adds her direct and personal observations to the
scientific story of the migration, and is incorporated into the
exhibition at the Center of the West.
The innovative approach includes methods compatible with
development, including the construction of highway overpasses,
underpasses, and wildlife-friendly fences with a smooth bottom
strand under which antelope can more safely crawl.
As Preston notes, “Wildlife is an important part of our western
heritage, and as we continue to change our world, we create new
challenges for wildlife.
'Pronghorn Passage,'” he adds, “shows that
we also have the ability to find solutions to help wildlife overcome
some of those challenges.”
The exhibition has previously appeared in other venues, including
the University of Wyoming Berry Center for Conservation Biodiversity
in Laramie, the Wildlife Experience in Colorado, and the Banff
Center in Alberta, Canada.
At the Center of the West, it has been
expanded to include sculpture by T.D. Kelsey, a large wall map
showing the migration route, updated and expanded information, and
an example of the safety fencing.
Video programs covering the project also augment the exhibition.
These include features from National Geographic’s “Wild Chronicles”
program, High Country News, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
For more information on this and other special exhibitions at the
Center of the West, as well as exhibitions and objects from the
Center’s collections that travel to distant venues, visit the
Center's Web site and click on “Exhibitions” and “Beyond Our Walls.”
Since 1917, the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody,
Wyoming has been committed to the
greatness and growth of the American West, keeping western
The Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, weaves the
varied threads of the western experience—history and myth, art and
Native culture, firearms, and the nature and science of
Yellowstone—into the rich panorama that is the American West.
The Center of the West has been honored with numerous awards,
including the prestigious 2012 National Tour Association’s Award for
“favorite museum for groups,” the 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of
Excellence, and, most recently, one of the “Top 10 Must See Western
Museums” by True West magazine.
Through November 30, the Center is open daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. On
December 1, hours change to 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday – Sunday;
closed Monday – Wednesday.
For additional information, visit centerofthewest.org or visit the Center’s page on Facebook.