Many wildlife-vehicle collisions preventable
Implementing simple measures could save wildlife and millions of dollars.
Implementing simple measures could save wildlife and millions of dollars.By Sam Toman Faculty of Environment
A new study from the University of Waterloo has found that Ontario could save millions by implementing simple measures to help prevent vehicle accidents involving wildlife.
The Waterloo study focused on Ontario and concluded that many of the thousands of wildlife-vehicle collisions — some fatal — occurring each year could be prevented if authorities implemented a few cost-effective strategies to minimize the occurrences.
Implementing strategies such as better signage, wildlife detection systems, fencing and wildlife crossings could help reduce financial and health-related impacts for people, emergency services and the insurance industry. The measures could also help prevent unnecessary loss in the wildlife populations.
“These collisions cost Canadians hundreds of millions a year in vehicle damage and medical costs, as well as traffic delays, emergency services-use and increases in insurance premiums,” said Waterloo’s Associate Professor Michael Drescher, who co-authored the study with graduate student Kristin Elton. “Ontario is missing an opportunity here. The most efficient way to prevent these accidents is to integrate effective measures in wildlife conflict zones every time major road work is undertaken.”
“Within Canada, the Rocky Mountain region is renowned as a leader in the management of wildlife-road conflicts, said Drescher, who estimates five to 10 per cent of car insurance premiums go to animal-related incidents. “They’ve realized the economics are simple. Adding measures to road construction projects only marginally impacts the overall budget, while saving millions in taxpayer money, insurance costs, and potentially lives.