Animal-Vehicle Collisions Hit Close To Home
When we first moved to Calgary from inner London (UK, not Ontario), one of the things we loved most was the abundance of wildlife we saw whenever we left the city. We were regular visitors to Bragg Creek for nine years before deciding to move here permanently five years ago.
Pouring my first coffee one morning a few weeks after moving to West Bragg, I noticed just out the window a flurry of activity by the garage: crows and coyotes vying for the chance to feed on a freshly killed deer. Fascinating for a townie like me, but sad, too.
A kind neighbour helped by moving the carcass further up the hill by our house, and needless to say it wasn’t around for long. He said by the look of it, she had been hit by a vehicle and had made it as far as our property before giving out.
That was my first really close encounter with AVC (animal-vehicle collision). Like I said: what a townie! Of course we’d seen roadkill in rural Scotland, Ireland, England, New Zealand, etc. but this hit close to home, literally. Since then I’ve realised that seeing dead wildlife by the side of the road is an almost daily occurrence, particularly on the busier stretches of road around Bragg Creek. Just a fact of life out here? To some extent, perhaps. But I was keen to find out more when Renée Delorme posted on Facebook late last year suggesting a group to look into ways of mitigating AVCs in our area. You may have seen that post, too.
That was the beginning of the Bragg Creek and Area Wildlife Corridor Initiative – an initiative that aims at finding a balance between human activities and habitat vitality.
Since that initial Facebook post, a lot of people have shown interest and a group has formed, sharing ideas and expertise about what we could do to address what seems to be a growing issue.
Local groups and individuals have been enthusiastic and shown interest in working together with us to this end.
What we would like to do as an umbrella initiative is enhance Bragg Creek’s links with wildlife in people’s minds, and raise awareness of the need to take care when spending time in the area. This would – we hope – include work around traffic issues and also around the protection of existing wildlife corridors and mitigation of habitat fragmentation. We would like to work on communication with both residents and with visitors about this. With all of this in mind we’re looking into designation of Bragg Creek as a ‘Wildlife Corridor’. Bragg Creek is already part of the Y2Y wildlife corridor which links Yellowstone and the Yukon, and aims to protect wildlife migration routes and important habitats between those two points. Bragg Creek is considered important for its river and watershed, its biodiversity and the presence of species at risk.
Currently the group is growing and people with logistical, environmental and other expertise have joined us. We’re reaching out to different groups and organisations within our community and interest is high. If you would like to learn more about the initiative or have us do a presentation (by Zoom) to your neighbourhood group, you, your neighbours and friends, we would love to hear from you. You can get in touch with us by email at email@example.com
Submitted by Sally Beetham Tilley