On July 1, 2018, Yellowstone National park in Wyoming opened its borders to all species of wildlife, including the iconic mountain lions, bears, and buffalo.
Yellowstone has become a national wildlife refuge because of the threat posed by wolves and cougars.
But that has not been enough to stop the species crossing the border.
And this week, an animal crossing was discovered at Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring, the only protected spring in the park.
“We’re still dealing with the effects of wolves and the cougars,” said John Mays, the park’s superintendent.
“It’s a new phenomenon.
We’ve never seen it this close.”
The bird crossing occurred on a spring that is the most popular for wildlife crossing in Yellowstone, which draws about 10,000 visitors each year.
“There are so many birds and mammals that are migrating here to breed and migrate and cross the border, and we haven’t been able to get a handle on it,” Mays said.
“But we know we need to do something about it.”
The park’s official description for the crossing describes it as “a natural bridge between the Grand Prismatile and the other side.”
The crossing has been discovered on the grounds of the Grand Park, a popular destination for wildlife, according to Mays.
“This is the only crossing that’s been discovered in the Grand Parks that’s this wide and this open,” he said.
Mays and other park officials hope the crossing will encourage more visitors to visit and allow them to get more exposure to the area’s wildlife.
“If we can get people to come in, to experience the natural beauty, then maybe they will want to come back and visit the other areas in the parks,” he added.
Wildlife crossing is not new at Yellowstone.
In fact, it has been around for decades, but the park recently added fencing around its boundaries and added barriers around the springs to prevent the animals from escaping.
But this week’s bird crossing was just the latest of many that have occurred this year, and it highlights the need for more barriers to stop wildlife crossing into Yellowstone.
“Every year, we have wildlife that are crossing over our borders, and the barrier is not doing enough,” Mews said.
Mays said the park has a plan to add barriers, including fences, but said that could take several months.
Mears said the border crossing will help keep people from making the mistake of making the crossing alone.
“I don’t think people want to be in that situation,” Mears added.
“They’re going to come out and take photos, but they’re not going to go out and cross over their own private property.”
The park is asking visitors to keep pets on hand, even if it means carrying them.
“Bring a small blanket or a water bottle,” Makes said.
The park also is offering a cash reward of up to $5,000 for anyone who helps find the bird crossing.