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New wildlife underpasses to save wildlife and drivers on Canadian highway

01/10/2013 10:50:05
world/nth_america_2011/kootenay_wildlife

Before the underpass was built, wildlife collisions on this stretch of road were 400% higher than average.

New wildlife underpasses and fencing on highway 93 in South Kootenay National Park
September 2013. Highways around the world pose significant challenges to wildlife by interrupting movement patterns, keeping animals from important habitat, causing genetic isolation and by direct mortality from collisions with vehicles. The effects reach beyond individual wildlife populations and pose broader conservation, economic and social consequences, including considerable human safety risks.

Wildlife underpasses
With construction of Kootenay National Park's three new wildlife underpasses and 4.6 kilometres of wildlife fencing now complete, Parks Canada's staff will monitor use of the structures by wildlife as has been done along the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park.

80% reduction in vehicles collisions
This project was inspired by the internationally recognized wildlife crossing structures and wildlife exclusion fencing constructed in Banff National Park, building on nearly 20 years of pioneering highway mitigations carried out by Parks Canada and partners. First installed in Banff National Park in 1996, a combination of fencing and crossing structures have helped reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions by 80% (96% for elk and deer).

In addition to monitoring animals commonly known to use highway crossing structures such as bears, wolves, elk and deer, researchers will examine use of the crossings by less conspicuous animals such as wolverines, lynx and small mammals.

$5 million spend
Parks Canada has invested $4.9 million in ‘Action on the Ground' funding to address wildlife mortality and habitat connectivity along Highway 93 South in Kootenay National Park. Through the construction of wildlife crossing structures and exclusion fencing, habitat connectivity for wildlife in Kootenay National Park will be improved while reducing animal mortality. This project will also improve visitor experience and safety by helping to reduce human-wildlife collisions and property damage, potentially saving human lives.

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