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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Problem of vehicle-to-animal accidents is increasing

Source: Globe and Mail By ROB SHAW, Thursday, July 21, 2005

"Right after the innovation of cars, they started running into wildlife," said Bruce Leeson, a senior environmental scientist at Parks Canada.

But as highways grow larger, cars travel faster, and animals have less space to roam, the problem of vehicle-to-animal accidents is increasing.

The most recent report from Transport Canada compiled provincial and Parks Canada data in 2003. It found:

An estimated 45,000 animals are hit by vehicles each year.

More than 80 per cent of the accidents involve deer.

Common methods of deterring accidents, such as highway signs, reduced speed limits, public awareness campaigns, reflector prisms, ultrasonic whistles, fences and highway lighting are costly and mostly ineffective.

Parks Canada has found success in combatting the problem in Banff National Park, where it has constructed 23 "green bridges" over the top of, and below, a four-lane, 45-kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway.

The bridges have reduced accidents by 82 per cent.

Since 1996, cameras have recorded more than 65,000 animals of all shapes and sizes crossing the road using the bridges.


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