Friday, June 05, 2020

Migration 101: It Doesn't Come Naturally For Moose And Sheep

And global warming is changing good migration routes.

September 6, 20182:56 PM ET
Heard on All Things Considered
Nell Greenfieldboyce

Insects and birds might have an innate drive to migrate at certain times and in certain directions, but a new study suggests that large mammals such as moose and bighorn sheep have to learn to do it.

In fact, it takes decades for cultural knowledge about migration to build up before populations can effectively move across the land to find the best food, according to a report in the journal Science.

"If a migration is lost, from some sort of disturbance to the landscape that cuts their migration off, it takes a long time for these migrations to re-establish because they require animals to learn about their landscape, pass that knowledge on to young, who then augment that knowledge with their own experiences and then pass that on to young, and so on and so forth," explains Brett Jesmer, an ecologist at the University of Wyoming. "It's this really slow development of knowledge over time that allows them to optimally use their landscape and begin migrating."


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