February 4, 2013

Wildlife Crossings in the News

People often ask us “do the wildlife crossings in Banff actually work?”  The obvious answer is yes: tens of thousands of large mammal crossings have been recorded in the park over the past 15 years, and the fencing along the highway keeps most animals off the road.

Wildlife overpass in Banff National Park

A harder question to answer is this one: “Are they cost-effective?”  According to a report by the Miistakis Institute, who study highway safety, the answer is yes. Near Dead Man's Flats, just outside of Banff National Park, a three kilometre section of highway was fenced in 2004, and outfitted with a wildlife underpass. Since then, the number of crashes between cars and animals has dropped considerably, and that means society has saved a lot of money.  Insurance claims are way down, and when people and animals aren't hurt, we are all winners.

Wildlife underpass, Banff National Park

The Miistakis report has inspired the transportation department in Alberta to look at other highways in the province, to see if they are good candidates for fences and underpasses.  If you drive through Crowsnest Pass in southern Alberta, there's a good chance you'll see wildlife-saving measures on Highway #3 in the future.