According to data provided to the Daily Gleaner by the Department of Energy and Resource Development, the number of deer roadkill in the province increased by more than 40 per cent between 2016 and 2017. The department collected a total of 3,259 deer carcasses in 2017, compared to 2,284 in 2016, the data shows.
"That's significant," said Wanda Baxter, a Nova Scotia-based program manager with Watch for Wildlife, a wildlife collision prevention education program, part of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation. "I am frankly astounded."
Provincial data provided to the Daily Gleaner shows bear and moose collisions increased by 24 per cent from 2016 to 2017, with bear collisions up from 84 in 2016 to 104 in 2017, and moose collisions up from 344 in 2016 to 427 in 2017.
Baxter said she was surprised to see bear collisions so high, considering the animals typically tend to stay away from roadways.
Baxter called the spike "alarming" but said without more context, it's difficult to pinpoint why collisions are increasing. The Department of Energy and Resource Development did not offer an explanation for the year-over-year increase. "Most collisions happen between dusk and dawn when animals are most active and visibility is reduced," said spokeswoman Anne Bull. "Collisions can increase in winter and spring when deer congregate around habitats that help them survive the extreme weather conditions." Baxter called on the government to dig deeper.
To mitigate collisions, Baxter said drivers should keep their high beams on at night, watch for glints of light in the darkness coming from headlights reflecting off animals' eyes, slow down and not litter. Garbage can attract animals, she said.
Baxter praised New Brunswick for its moose fencing initiatives, but warned that where fences end, collisions can begin. ...