Watch for Wildlife (W4W) is a wildlife-vehicle collision prevention program of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation’s Atlantic Chapter. Initiated in 2016 in Nova Scotia, Watch for Wildlife was developed in response to a recognized need for greater awareness about wildlife-vehicle collision prevention and increasing safety on our roads for both people and wildlife. The program aims to educate drivers on ways to prevent collisions with wildlife, encourage collision reporting and data collection, and advocate for the inclusion of wildlife collision mitigation plans in road design and transportation policy. After two years in Nova Scotia, the program was successfully expanded to New Brunswick in Summer 2018.
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.
PREVENTION AND RESPONSE
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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).
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.
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 following contacts are available is you are in a collision with wildlife or see an injured animal on the road.
Wildlife Rescue Centres
If you hit or see wildlife that is injured and still alive, or has eggs or young with it, contact your local wildlife rescue centre.
Atlantic Wildlife Institute, north of Sackville, NB
- (506) 364 1902
SOS Miss Dolittle Centre d'aide pour animaux sauvages, St-Henri-de-Lévis, QC
- (418) 561 2484
Provincial Wildlife Departments
Always report collisions with wildlife to the appropriate government organization.
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
- 1 (800) 565 2224
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY & RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
NATURAL RESOURCES DIVISION
- 1 (506) 453 2684
MINISTÈRE DES FORÊTS, DE LE FAUNE ET DES PARCS
- 1 (877) 346 6763
Provincial Ministries of Transportation
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE RENEWAL
- 1 (844) MYNSRDS (696 7737)
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION & INFRASTRUCTURE
- 1 (506) 453 3939
- 511 (In Québec)
- 1 (888) 355 0511
Call RCMP dispatch or our local police if a large animal is injured and
is in distress, and/or wildlife is a safety hazard to drivers.
It is important to report wildlife-vehicle collisions and road-kill sightings as this data informs where improvements to road infrastructure can be made: like adding signs, fencing, crossing structures, and other measures to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions.
You can report sightings of wildlife on the road (alive or deceased) to:
Please reach out 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.
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
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
Road Ecology Research, Links and Media, International
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The Sierra Club Canada Foundation: A Voice for the Earth, and for Wildlife
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. firstname.lastname@example.org