Watch for Wildlife is about Reducing Injury and Mortality of People and Wildlife on our Roads.


    Our brochure has Collision Prevention Tips, Endangered Species information and contact numbers for Wildlife Rescues, Department of Natural Resources and DOT HOtline for Carcass Removal.


  • Watch for Wildlife: Preventing Collisions with wildlife on our roads

    Watch for Wildlife (W4W) NS is a wildlife vehicle collision prevention program that encourages and enables Nova Scotians and visitors to the province to drive with an awareness of wildlife on roads, and do what they can to prevent collisions with wildlife. Watch for Wildlife is a voice for wildlife vehicle conflict prevention in Nova Scotia, and we will work to raise awareness of the impacts of vehicle collisions on wildlife, people, the economy and insurance costs.


    The objective of the program is straightforward: to reduce injury and mortality of wildlife and people on our roads, and to encourage the implementation of wildlife-friendly road design and vehicle-collision mitigation measures.


    Thousands of animals and other creatures are killed annually on our roads, but it is difficult to know exactly how many are hit in part because collisions with wildlife are widely unreported. W4W will also work to encourage more collision reporting and improved data collection. More data can help managers determine if improved collision prevention measures (wildlife fencing, signs, underpasses, overpasses, etc.) are warranted, and where they are needed. We have a burgeoning project on iNaturalist to engage citizen scientists in tracking collisions for this purpose, and the button below takes you directly to the project. Please sign up if you are able and willing to collect collision data in your local area.


    Watch for Wildlife is supported by the NS Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Road Safety Division and with input from the Department of Natural Resources (Wildlife Division), the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Hope for Wildlife. Watch for Wildlife is a program of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation with funding from the Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada, Lush Charity Pot and promotional support from MBlem Design, Helping Nature Heal, Adopt A Highway NS, CarShare Atlantic and others.

  • collision contacts

    If you are in a Collision with Wildlife:

    Please report to one or more of the following, depending on the situation (pull off the road and stop before making a call):



    Wildlife rescues have volunteers across the province who retrieve injured wildlife.

    Hope for Wildlife, Seaforth, NS

    - (902) 407 WILD (9453)

    Cobequid Wildlife Rehab, below Truro

    - (902) 893 0253



    to report (and have recorded) collisions with wildlife and animals.

    - 1 800 565 2224



    report to DOTIR for wildlife carcass removal from roads

    - 1 844 MYNSRDS (1 844 696 7737)


    - RCMP 911

    Call RCMP dispatch if you encounter a large, injured animal after hours or on weekends. Call them as well if there is human injury and/or vehicle damage. Wildlife Rescues can also be contacted at any time


    It is important to report collisions:

    • So injured wildlife are responded to and carcasses are removed from the road and shoulder of the road.
    • Leaving carcasses brings predator birds and animals to feed on them and can cause additional collisions.
    • Reporting injured and killed wildlife can prevent injury to animals travelling with them: young wildlife will stay with their parents, mothers will stay with their young, mates may try to revive their downed mate, unborn young may be rescued if you call it in.
    • Reporting collisions can inform research and mitigation measures.

    tips to Help prevent Wildlife Vehicle collisions

    In this section: Prevent Collision Tips, Contact information and How to respond in case of collision with wildlife. Watch for Wildlife is a program of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation and is about public education and collision prevention tips, and we accept no liability. Driver Safety is the priority in every case.

    Tips for Preventing Wildlife Vehicle Collisions

    (Image Credit: Putneypics )


    The hours between 6 and 9 at Dawn and Dusk are when most collisions with vehicles occur. Be particularly careful at these times of day.


    1. Watch your speed -  collisions with wildlife can be sometimes be avoided if you have time to slow up and avoid a collision, especially on rural roads. 
    2. Scan Ahead - Scanning ahead for animals helps you to see them before they are in your path. Watch especially for the light of their eyes reflecting your lights at night and use your high beam headlights as often as possible. Note: the eyes of Moose don't reflect well.
    3. Honk Your Horn -  a few short horn blasts helps to alert animals to get out of the way instead of freezing in place by instinct (turtles, snakes and birds, not so much).
    4. Brake to Slow down (Don't swerve!) - if an animal is on the road, brake gently to slow down, but don't swerve or stop suddenly. It is important that your reaction to avoid wildlife doesn't endanger yourself or other drivers.
    5. Proceed Carefully - If you see an animal on or near the road, slow up slightly to see what they are going to do - they can be unpredictable - and look around for others. Animals often travel together and young animals follow their mothers. Scan around without stopping to see if there are others and then proceed cautiously.
    6. Flick your lights - to warn oncoming cars of the hazard ahead. Even if they don't understand the signal to mean there is a wildlife hazard ahead, they will likely recognize you are giving a warning signal and will pay added attention.
    7. Don't Litter! Throwing garbage and food out vehicle windows attracts animals onto the road. It may seem innocent and harmless enough to throw an apple core or banana peel out the window because they are biodegradable, but wildlife and birds will be attracted to food on the road, which often means they will be injured or killed. Garbage will also attract them. Adopt-a-Highway is working with us to share the importance of not littering to prevent wildlife collisions, and volunteering with them to help clean up roads in your area can help. More info here: https://www.adoptahighwayns.ca

    For More Information:


    The Traffic Injury Research Foundation has developed an excellent online resource for Preventing Vehicle Collisions with wildlife. For more links, scroll down to the Links section.


    Find specific advice when encountering different kinds of wildlife and much other information, go here: http://wildliferoadsharing.tirf.org


    If you do Hit a Wild Animal or other creature with your Vehicle ...

    Image Credit: Lenn Wagg


    If you do hit a wild animal or other creature with your vehicle,

    there are a number of things you can and should do:


    Pull safely off the road (if possible). Assess yourself and others in the vehicle to make sure everyone is okay.

    Check to see if the animal is alive or dead (from a safe distance). If dead, see if there are any young animals with it. If it is still alive and/or has eggs or young, call a Wildlife Rescue or the Department of Natural Resources.


    Report the collision to the appropriate organization to deal with the result of the collision (Wildlife Rescue, Department of Natural Resources, Species at Risk reporting and/or 911/RCMP - see the Contact Information). Report the collision to your insurance company and the police, if substantial damage has occurred.

    Report Collisions with Wildlife

    Image Credit: Peggy Scanian


    Watch for Wildlife encourages drivers to STOP if you hit wildlife and call the appropriate contact, and also to report wildlife carcasses you see for a number of reasons:


    1. Alleviate suffering of wildlife - Wildlife is not always killed instantly when it is hit, and injured wildlife should be reported to a Wildlife Rescue and/or the Department of Natural Resources (if a large animal).
    2. Contribute important data - Collision data helps wildlife managers and transportation designers to identify hotspot collision areas and species movement patterns toward developing collision mitigation measures (e.g. signs, wildlife underpasses, overpasses, fences, etc.). It is especially important to report a collision with a species at risk.
    3. Species viability - It is difficult to know how many members of species are injured and killed on Nova Scotia roads due in part to under-reporting collisions. More reporting equals more collision data that can help managers to assess the viability of populations and serve as a baseline.


    The Sierra Club Canada Foundation -

    a Voice for the Earth, and for Wildlife

    Watch for Wildlife is a program of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation (Atlantic Chapter), initiated and developed by Wanda Baxter with Chapter support.


    The Sierra Club Canada Foundation is a charitable foundation independent of Sierra Club U.S. and has a mission to be a voice for the earth - in Canada. The Sierra Club works to protect and preserve the natural environment, and to empower people to be stewards of and advocates for nature in their communities and beyond.


    Contact the Sierra Club Canada Foundation for how you can become a member, how to donate to support this or other programs, and/or to learn how you can become a steward in your own community. info@sierraclub.ca


    Commentary, Research and Program Updates about Wildlife and Roads, NS

    Wildlife-vehicle collisions are a widespread public safety concern. Concerns primarily focus on...
    Road Safety: Sharing our Roads with Canada’s Wildlife The possibility of striking wildlife...
    Letter to the Editor/Opinion - unpublished I am writing for two reasons – first, to alert...
    'We can't just keep hitting them on the road and think it's not a problem.' - Wanda Baxter, Watch...
    Watch for Wildlife NS, a wildlife vehicle collision prevention program of the Sierra Club Canada...
    More Posts
  • Research & Links

    Wildlife Vehicle Conflicts Research and Links - updated regularly

    Wildlife and Roads Research and Articles, Nova Scotia

    Beazley, K., T. Snaith, F. MacKinnon, and D. Colville. 2004. "Road density and potential impacts on wildlife species such as American moose in mainland Nova Scotia." Proceedings of the Nova Scotian Institute of Science 42(2): 339357.


    Burke, David. Roadkill Deaths Driving some Species to the Edge. CBC News, October 7, 2017. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/roadkill-deaths-driving-some-species-to-the-edge-1.4343495


    Fudge, David, Freedman, Bill, Crowell, Michael, Nette, Tony and Power, Vince. “Road-kill of Mammals in Nova Scotia”. Canadian Field Naturalist.


    Horne, D. and Rostad, K. Wildlife Corridors in Southwestern Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia. Compiled for the Ecology Action Centre www.aapt.ca/images/publications/corridor_design_hornerostad.pdf


    Lowe, Lezlie. “A final resting place: Touring a Nova Scotia carcass disposal site.

    Chronicle Herald. December 21, 2013.


    Nadeem, Khurram and Zhang, Yin. In–Depth Analysis of Deer Management in Nova Scotia: A Critique of Current Policy and Suggestions for Future Management Approaches. Acadia University. Feb 28, 2014. Nova Scotia Habitat Conservation Fund, 2014.


    White, Stephanie. 2017. Masters Thesis, Acadia University. Monitoring mammal movement through a wildlife underpass and culvert in Antigonish, Nova Scotia using remote camera sensing 

    Road Ecology Links and Research, Canada

    Acadia Researcher Finding a Way to Make Nova Scotia Roads Safer for People and Animals Alike.



    Alberta - SafeRoads: https://saferoads.com/drivers/safety-issues/wildlife/wildlife


    BC Wildlife Collision Prevention Program. http://www.wildlifecollisions.ca/default.aspx


    Data Collection of amphibians in Saanich http://hat.bc.ca/i-want-to/news-and-events/566-collaboration-for-amphibians-breeds-innovation-in-saanich


    Eco-Kare https://eco-kare.com/designing-mitigation-systems/


    Highway Wilding - an excellent documentary about developing wildlife crossings in the Banff area and elsewhere.



    Newfoundland - Evaluation of Moose-Vehicle Collision Mitigation Pilot Initiatives Department of Transport, March, 2014. http://www.tw.gov.nl.ca/publications/Evaluation%20of%20Moose-Vehicle%20Collision%20Mitigation%20Pilot%20Initiatives.pdf


    Ontario Road Ecology Group, Royal Ontario Museum. 2010. A Guide to Road Ecology in Ontario, prepared for the Environment Canada Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk.


    Ontario Ministry of Transportation - Environmental Guide to Mitigating Road Impacts to Wildlife. http://www.raqsa.mto.gov.on.ca/techpubs/eps.nsf/0/666ad1222e39a2d7852572b300578def/$FILE/Environmental%20Guide%20for%20Mitigating%20Road%20Impacts%20to%20Wildlife%20Final%20March%202017%20-%20ENGLISH%20ACC.pdf


    Seburn Ecological Services, Ontario. Road Mitigation for Amphibians and Reptiles. 2016 https://seburn.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/road-mitigation-for-amphibians-and-reptiles/


    Traffic Injury Research Foundation's online resource for Preventing Vehicle Collisions with wildlife in Canada (has extensive information, background research and links): http://wildliferoadsharing.tirf.org


    Ro​ad Ecology Research, Links and Media, International


    California Roadkill Observation System. http://www.wildlifecrossing.net/california/ (Dr. Fraser Shilling)


    Cost–Benefit Analyses of Mitigation Measures Aimed at Reducing Collisions with Large Ungulates in the United States and Canada: a Decision Support Tool

    Marcel P. Huijser , John W. Duffield , Anthony P. Clevenger , Robert J. Ament and Pat T. McGowen



    Designing Mitigation Systems, Eastern Ontario. (turtles). With video. Eco-Kare. March 10, 2017.



    Earth Touch News Network. June 2014. “Roadkill Problem? There’s an App for that.

    http://www.earthtouchnews.com/conservation/human-impact/roadkill-problem- theres-an-app-for-that


    Evaluation of Wildlife Crossing Structures on US 93 in Montana's Bitterroot Valley. Patricia Cramer and Robert Hamlin, report authors. Department of Transportation. http://www.mdt.mt.gov/research/projects/env/us93_wildlife.shtml February, 2017


    “Monitoring Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions in the Information Age: How Smartphones can Improve Data Collection.” Plus One - Olson, Daniel D. Olson, Bissonette, John A, Cramer, Patricia C., Green, Ashley D., Davis, Scott T., Jackson, Patrick J., Coaster, Daniel C. PLOS One, June 4, 2014.


    Roads are driving rapid evolutionary change in our environment, February 16, 2017



    Safety Resources (numerous publications re: Wildlife and Roads). Maine, Department of Transportation



    Toolbox - Effectiveness of Deer Crossing Signs - Research paper, DeerCrossing.org, 2002 http://www.deercrash.org/Toolbox/CMToolboxDeerCrossingSigns.pdf


    Tortoise fencing can cause animals to overheat. http://wildlife.org/meant-to-protect-tortoises-roadside-fencing-could-endanger-some/


    Tracking wildlife roadkill in Maine offers a path to saving lives http://www.pressherald.com/?p=901409



  • Contact us or donate


    Please get in touch if you would like to Share a Story, Idea or Concern about roads and wildlife, or to request a bumper sticker or magnet - they look like our logo on the main page and turn your vehicle into a moving reminder to others (and you) to Watch for Wildlife while driving.


    To Donate to support Watch for Wildlife, click here: Sierra Club Canada Foundation & specify that your donation is for Watch for Wildlife, NS.


  • Funding Partners

    We are grateful to the following funding partners for supporting this initiative.

    The Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada

    The Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada aims to achieve measurable positive change in improving the lives of animals in Canada, through funding innovative educational, research and public outreach initiatives

    Lush Charity Pot

    Lush Charity Pot funding goes to small, grassroots groups that have limited resources and often struggle to find funding. We support groups both in North America and around the world working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights.

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