Be on the look-out for an orphaned moose calve. Photo by Marcie Welsh

Sympathy for moose

We’ve been covering the story of the orphaned moose calves whose mother was killed by a motor vehicle on Highway 3, last week.

We rooted for the Conservation Officer Service and wildlife rescue volunteer Colleen Bailey and their heroic efforts to save the calves, only to learn that one of them got hit by a vehicle on Saturday and had to be euthanized by a conservation officer.

I mean come on.

Nature doesn’t work the way it does in a Disney movie, I understand this, and we were all hoping for a disney-esque ending but what we’re getting looks more like a French film noir; pointless, bizarre and needlessly tragic. Nature is cruel, but it’s not that cruel.

As more people move to the Elk Valley and the region turns into a destination for travelers, maybe the government should be looking into ways of making the highways safer for both two and four-legged creatures.

Up in Banff National Park, a series of tunnels and overpasses along the Trans-Canada Highway have reportedly reduced the number of wildlife vehicle collisions by approximately 80 per cent.

There had been concerns that funneling wildlife across a few bridges and tunnels would give predators an inordinate advantage, but research has shown that this is not the case.

We might look to use a similar system here in the Elk Valley. From 2004 to 2012, Highway 3 from Fort Steele to the Alberta border had the highest elk and deer mortality rates in the province.

The government has installed wildlife detection systems on Highway 3, which use sensors to identify large wildlife approaching the shoulder of the highway. When a large animal is detected, the system triggers flashing lights on a warning sign to alert drivers of the potential hazard ahead.

But I wonder if this system is actually reducing the number of collisions. The signs are always flashing, the elk or deer are rarely visible, and I worry that drivers might be lulling themselves into a false sense of security.

The local business community should come to realize that our large mammals are assets. Over the last couple of years that I’ve lived in the area, seeing a deer or an elk grazing in a yard has become a humdrum experience but most people – even most Canadians – can go their whole lives without seeing anything larger than a squirrel. They tune in to watch nature shows that feature large animals because humans feel a kinship with these creatures.

I see two options moving forward. We can wait for natural selection to weed out the more careless animals until we have species of ungulates whose ability to jaywalk is built into their very genetic code, or we can do something about it.

There’s also one more orphaned moose calf out there, so watch your speed and call or text 250-919-6207 if you see it around.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Conservation Officers seek public assistance

A mule deer buck was poached within Elkford town limits

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Annual Elk Valley Pride Festival paints the town rainbow

Festivities began with a spirited Pride Bike Parade and flag raising ceremony

City of Fernie installs new railway safety decals

Part of Rail Safety Week, the initiative promotes railway safety at one of Fernie’s busy crossings

MP Morrison faults federal Throne Speech as new Parliament session begins

Kootenay-Columbia representative criticizes a lack of focus on jobs, support for resource sector

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

Most Read