CP, Parks Canada look to cut down on grizzly bear deaths

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BANFF, Alberta – Park officials in Canada are working with Canadian Pacific on a strategy that reduces the number of train-related grizzly bear deaths in rural Alberta, the Canadian Press reports.

According to the article, grizzly bears need better travel paths and visibility of railroad tracks so they can keep themselves out of harm’s way. Parks Canada and CP funded the five-year study that determined grizzly bears are attracted to the right-of-way because of loose grain from passing trains and a type of berry that grows along sunny sections of the right-of-way.

To combat the issue, park officials believe cutting vegetation along curvy sections of the right-of-way will approve line-of-sight for bears and allow them to move out of the way of an approaching train. As a result, CP will spend $750,000 in the next three years to trim vegetation.

Improved line-of-sight isn’t the only thing bears in rural Alberta can expect in the next few years. Park and rail officials are also experimenting with flashing lights and sounding alarms in areas that bears are likely to graze. This system would give grizzlies enough time to round up their berries and exit the right-of-way before it’s too late.

“We are waiting to see the results. The initial indications are quite positive,” says Joe van Humbeck, an environmental assessment manager at CP.

The study began in 2010 after bear deaths along the railroad’s line in the Banff National Park grew to account for nearly one-third of all bear deaths. Park officials used radio collars on the bears to track their daily habits during the study, the article says.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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