With summer just around the corner, Watch For Wildlife is preparing for another season of educating drivers. The program, run by Sierra Club Canada Foundation, aims to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and increase awareness of the adverse impacts roads have on different animal species.
“The warmer weather means more people and more wildlife are on the move,” says Kristin Elton, Watch For Wildlife’s Program Coordinator. “While both residents and visitors alike travel to explore what the maritime region has to offer, the animals are out & busy, too. Whether it’s raising young, seeking out the best browsing sights, or making their annual breeding migration, these animals have things to do!”
A deer slowly crosses a dirt road. Photo courtesy of Ian Murray of Wallace River Photography.
As such, the program is encouraging the public to keep these active wildlife in mind, and adjust driving accordingly. In addition to always scanning ahead, watching your speed, and breaking to slow down when safe to do so, collision-prevention tips for this time of year include:
Looking out for any babies if you see an adult animal on the road (there can be stragglers!)
Do not throw your road-trip garbage - including biodegradables - onto the side of the road, as this attracts animals and their prey to the roadway.
Yes, you can help a turtle cross the road if safe to do so, but always take it in the direction it is heading! If you see a turtle laying eggs on the gravel shoulder, let your local road authority know.
Watch out for lower profile animals like frogs, snakes, and salamanders who seek out the warm pavement to bask. These animals also tend to migrate all at once, so be on the lookout for multiple.
Watch For Wildlife will be kicking things off at the Atlantic Wildlife Festival in Amherst this weekend - June 15th & 16th - and will be at the Garrison Night Market in Fredericton Thursday June 20th.
Individuals and groups are encouraged to reach out to Watch For Wildlife if they have any questions or particular local concerns regarding wildlife and road issues. You can visit their website at www.watchforwildlife.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Kristin Elton is Watch For Wildlife’s Program Coordinator. She has a M.E.S degree in Planning from the University of Waterloo and expertise in road ecology, environmental education, and community outreach. She is located in Fredericton, NB.