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Trains, Grains, and Grizzly Bears: Reducing Wildlife Mortality on Railway Tracks in Banff National Park

  • Jim, Pissot
Published Article
Publication Date
May 19, 2007
Road Ecology Center John Muir Institute of the Environment
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Between 2000 and 2007, the Canadian Pacific Railway emerged as the leading human-related cause of grizzly bear mortality in Banff National Park. Seven grizzlies were struck by CPR trains, and none of the five cubs orphaned by these collisions survived within the park. Other wildlife also have been struck and killed. Spilled grain, track-side attractants, and preference of animals for open travel corridors are cited as contributing to these collisions. CPR’s rail lines bisect the Canadian Rockies and, along with other factors, inhibit wildlife movement and genetic connectivity. Ecologists and conservations seek to implement measures to ensure continued ecological connectivity across these man-made barriers. Railways have adopted various methods to reduce wildlife mortality, including more efficient sealing of grain cars, vacuum cars to recover spilled grain, and warnings that alert wildlife of approaching trains. Fencing and crossing structures, such as those assisting wildlife to cross highways, also are being considered. We discuss the causes of train-wildlife collisions, steps taken to reduce the number of collisions, propose further opportunities to reduce the likelihood of collisions.

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