Letter to the Editor/Opinion - unpublished
The second reason I am writing is to bring attention to the complexity involved with trying to prevent wildlife vehicle collisions, and the collaboration needed across different organizations and disciplines. Recently a story was published (not in this publication) by a journalist who was concerned about the amount of roadkill he saw on his commute, and wondered how much wildlife is killed on our roads. He contacted me along with responsible authorities and the wildlife rescues to find out what he could. Unfortunately; though the story is a useful effort to find out what management and reporting processes there are in NS to record collisions and carcasses, and what is being done to reduce collisions; it also sets up a dichotomy between environmentalists and responsible authorities (in this case DNR and DOTIR Road Safety).
It is unfortunate that a recent article painted a different picture: one of challenge and divisiveness. As a society, we have only really begun to recognize the extent of the impacts of driving and road building on wildlife and habitat connectivity, human safety and the economy in the last 20 years. Identifying how best to reduce wildlife vehicle collisions and implement mitigation measures is complicated and expensive – and it will take cooperation across departments and organizations and require a range of different approaches and skill sets to enact.
Working together is needed to deal with the widespread and pervasive nature of such problems as wildlife vehicle collisions and other impacts of linear transportation systems on nature (and us). Watch for Wildlife NS is working to raise awareness of how drivers can be more aware of wildlife on roads, how to prevent collisions, and how best to respond to collisions if they occur. This work is being done to enhance the work of DNR and DOTIR Road Safety, and is being done with their input. It’s going to take a lot of work and collective effort to minimize the impacts of our transportation systems on nature, and we are glad to work with responsible authorities and other organizations to do our part.
For information about Watch for Wildlife NS and wildlife collision prevention and associated research see www.watchforwildlife.ca. There are also links there for the DNR and DOTIR wildlife hotlines, as well as contact information for Nova Scotia Wildlife Rescues.
Please drive Safely, watch your speed, and be especially wary of deer on the roads at this time of year.
Watch for Wildlife NS
Sierra Club Canada Foundation