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Duchess Finds Success with Wildlife Safe Passages Program

Wildlife safe passages program at Duchess ensuring wildlife can safely share our 1120 acre property

  • A wild turkey uses one of our fence "windows" to safely pass into our property. Jennifer Kunz/The HSUS

  • A white tail doe teaches her twin fawns to use one of the fence “windows.” Jennifer Kunz/The HSUS

  • A white tail doe teaches her twin fawns to use one of the fence “windows.” Jennifer Kunz/The HSUS

  • A white tail doe teaches her twin fawns to use one of the fence “windows.” Jennifer Kunz/The HSUS

  • A gray squirrel jumps through one of the fence "windows" in pursuit of his friend. Jennifer Kunz/The HSUS

In the summer of 2013 the Duchess Sanctuary, in cooperation with the HSUS Wildlife Innovation and Response Team, installed numerous safe passageways in our fencing to allow for the travel of wildlife native to the area through our property. Part of the mission at Duchess, in addition to caring for our almost 200 rescued horses, is to protect the native wildlife who share our 1120 acre property.

While the wire mesh fencing that was put in originally is very safe for our horses, it had the potential to impede wildlife traffic, so passageways were installed to allow our wild neighbors to move about freely around and through our property. Jump overs, crawl unders, pass throughs, and even a bridge for the local bears were constructed to give the many species safe options for moving onto, through, and off the property.

Motion activated wildlife cameras placed near some of the crossings have shown the modifications are working.

A white tail doe taught her twin fawns to use one of the fence “windows.” Though she herself could jump over the fence, the tiny fawns were too small, so the fence window allowed them to navigate the fence line safely. And a grey squirrel was photographed jumping through that same window.

Deer have been spotted jumping over the lowered portions of the fence on numerous occasions, though we haven’t managed to catch them on camera yet. Raccoons and turkeys have also been traveling near the window passageway. Traffic has been brisk at some of the crawl-under tunnels, with little feet keeping the paths well worn.

Everyone involved is pleased with the success of this project, and we look forward to seeing what other animals and species we are able to capture on camera.

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