Wildlife crossings being heralded as a success in Banff

Animals killed by vehicles on highways in Banff National Park have decreased over a 10-year period, The Calgary Herald is reporting.

“Nineteen medium-sized and large mammals died as a result of vehicle collisions in 2015, down from 41 in 2006,” the Herald published. “In the first five months of 2016, seven animals died after being struck by a vehicle.”

Full data on wildlife collisions in 2016 won’t be available until next month, but there is a clear trend that measures such as wildlife crossings and fencing have made a significant difference in keeping both wildlife and drivers safe.

Research shows an 80 per cent reduction in wildlife collisions on the Trans-Canada Highway,” the Herald noted. “The death rates for large carnivores are 50 to 100 per cent lower along sections of the Trans-Canada where there are crossings.”

One study referenced by the Herald, though not directly cited, also indicated that the use of such mitigation measures also reduced costs associated with wildlife-vehicle collisions by an average of over 90 per cent.

Not all measures will work or be appropriate in all cases – but it is clear that overpasses, underpasses, and fencing along roadways can save lives of both humans and wildlife. And that means these measures should definitely a priority now, and into the future.

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