Preventing grizzly deaths on Canadian train tracks
Author: teddygirl | Thursday June 14, 2007
The following is from Defenders of Wildlife, an organization that protects all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities.
Over the past six years, trains of the Canadian Pacific Railway have killed four female grizzly bears in Canada's Banff National Park. None of the five cubs orphaned by these collisions survived in the park on their own. According to Dr. Stephen Herrero, one of Canada's most respected grizzly bear experts, CPR trains are "the number one known source of grizzly bear mortality" in Banff National Park. These deaths are preventable, and Defenders of Wildlife Canada is urging the Railway and others to take steps needed to conserve grizzly bears and other wildlife that venture onto the tracks.
Thousands of grizzlies, black bears, elk, deer and other animals are killed on Canadian Pacific Railway tracks in Canada’s mountain parks. They are drawn to the tracks to forage on grain spilled and to use the cleared right-of-way for easier passage. Unprepared for approaching locomotives, they are killed on Canadian Pacific Railway tracks.
The Canadian Pacific Railway hauls thousands of tons of grain, beans and other crops from Canada's agricultural fields to export markets on the west coast. When trains up to two miles long are rushed through massive loading facilities, some grain is spilled on the hopper cars' flat surfaces. Other grain leaks from defective hopper doors, or doors that are not closed properly. This grain falls to the ground between the rails as trains move west.
There are solutions!
Grain spills and wildlife deaths can be reduced. The Railway has taken some steps to reduce the number of mortalities, but unnecessary deaths continue. Defenders of Wildlife Canada and others have been recommending solutions to the Canadian Pacific Railway and urging them to do reduce spills and take other measures to reduce wildlife deaths between the rails.
What's in the Media?
The Canadian media, particularly local press, has taken notice of spilled grain and dead bears and other wildlife. Editorials have called for the Railway to do more. The Canadian Pacific Railway is an icon institution in North America. The Railway was instrumental in the founding of Canada's national parks (not unlike the role of US railways in American national parks), and is a mainstay of Canadian industry and agriculture. The corporation is answerable in different ways to Canadian regulators, to Parks Canada, to shareholders and to the public at large.
Defenders in Action
Defenders of Wildlife Canada began to address wildlife deaths on the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks as part of our Habitat and Highways program. We have proposed workable solutions and steps that should be taken to address grain spillage and collisions with wildlife.
For more information, visit Defenders' website: http://www.defenders.org