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Better strategies needed to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions: UW study

On average, there are about 12,000 collisions involving animals each year
Deer crossing
File photo

A new study from the University of Waterloo says the amount of wildlife-vehicle collisions are high and something needs to be done about it. 

The study has a number of recommendations to ensure both drivers and animals are safe and it could save millions of dollars for our province. 

The strategies include better signage, wildlife detection systems, fencing and wildlife crossings.

Associate professor Michael Drescher, who co-authored the study, says Ontario is missing an opportunity to implement these measures when planning new construction. 

"Most people think that these measures are very expensive, but what we find from our study if you roll the construction and implementation of these measures into a road reconstruction or construction project pale in comparison to the overall cost of the project." said Drescher.

On average, there are about 12,000 collisions involving animals each year, with 600 of those resulting in injuries to drivers or passengers and six resulting in a fatal collision. 

Drescher adds that when a construction project is planned, everyone involved needs to take wildlife-vehicle collisions into account and work together to implement safety measures. 

"Engineers think about the engineering part, the decision makers focus on the money, and drivers themselves think about how to get from A to B. What we need is to get people talking together across these different disciplines and have a more strategic approach, which includes the issue of wildlife management, together in a project."

The study which was also co-authored by graduate student Kristin Elton was published recently in the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. 

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