What is GIUM?
Most of the world’s large terrestrial mammals are ungulates, and many of them migrate seasonally to sustain their massive herds on landscapes around the planet. The abundance that migration supports in turn connects systems and promotes the resilience of the ecosystems that sustain subsistence hunting, rural economies, and provides the primary prey base for almost all the world's top carnivores.
Today, the slow and steady spread of our human footprint represents a common threat to ungulate migrations across the globe. The wild landscapes that migrations require are increasingly fragmented and degraded by roads, fences, agriculture, energy development, and human settlements. Migrations are being lost for species as diverse as bighorn sheep, elk, bison, pronghorn, springbok, Thompson’s gazelle, hartebeest, scimitar-horned oryx, zebra, and wildebeest.
New advances in migration science now make it possible to identify threats to corridors and pinpoint conservation opportunities. In North America and Europe, corridor maps are being used to target fences for modification or removal, site road-crossing structures, adjust energy development footprints, and focus conservation efforts on working lands. Such initiatives however are constrained by technological hurdles and in need of support.
The Global Initiative on Ungulate Migration was created in 2020. The main aim of the initiative is to work collaboratively to: 1) create a Global Atlas of Ungulate Migration (an inventory) using tracking data and expert knowledge; and 2) stimulate research on drivers, mechanisms, threats and conservation solutions common to ungulate migration worldwide. Initiative participants include global experts representing the world's major terrestrial regions and most if not all of its longest migrations (e.g., Serengeti wildebeest, arctic caribou, Mongolian saiga, white-eared kob, African elephants, among many others). We seek to spark conservation efforts worldwide by sharing and discussing new, ongoing, and proven approaches to maintain migration corridors across large landscapes.
Participation in the Global Initiative on Ungulate Migration is open to anyone who can contribute information, GPS data, or expert knowledge to help delineate current or historical ungulate migrations.
Science Magazine Article