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Conservation Spotlight on Watch for Wildlife

An Interview-style Profile on Watch for Wildlife - reprinted from Animex Fencing

How does the program aim to reduce collisions with wildlife?

Watch for Wildlife (W4W) aims to prevent collisions with wildlife from three perspectives:

1) wildlife-collision prevention education for drivers,

2) encouraging and collaborating on research and collision tracking and

3) advocating for wildlife collision mitigation and policy change.

A primary goal of the program is to raise awareness about the impacts of wildlife-vehicle collisions on wildlife, the economy, and people; and what can be done to prevent collisions from happening.

What are some of the challenges of the program?

Some of the challenges of the program are: the negative attitudes and nonchalance many drivers have toward 'roadkill', driver distraction and speeding, lack of complete wildlife collision data sets, disconnected goverment responsibility and strategy for managing wildlife on roads, and lack of funding.

Wildlife collision prevention is not seen as a problem or is considered managed by most people, so the work can be difficult to fund. Also, it is a grim topic that can be overwhelming and seem impossible to fix, so it can be challenging work and hard to engage interest in and concern for.

How are you hoping to grow the program in future?
We plan to grow the program gradually as the program gains traction and as other chapters of the Sierra Club have the capacity to run it. This year our main area of growth is expanding the program to New Brunswick in part due to funding assistance from Animex - and with main funding from Animal Welfare Foundation of Canada and Lush Charity Pot. A key development this year is translating the program brochure into French, developing a French section of the website and reaching out to new stakeholders such as municipal governments, planners, and drivers education organizations.

Other ways we are growing the program is through developing program surveys and quality feedback measures and being engaged at the national level with a goal of encouraging policy change and the development of a national wildlife collision data collection strategy. We also grow the program by building a network through social media, by reaching out to researchers and encouraging further research in this area, and by attending meetings and conferences to both raise awareness of the program and learn from others working in this field.
Though the focus of the program is on wildlife collisions (mammals primarily), we are also growing the program to examine and bring attention to impacts of transportation networks on insects, pollinators, birds, and habitat connectivity. We also will continue to raise awareness of the impacts of collisions on people and our economy.

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