AN ASSESSMENT OF MOOSE AND ELK TRAIN COLLISIONS IN ONTARIO, CANADA

Joe Hamr, Mike Hall, Jesse N. Popp

Abstract


To better understand train collision mortality of moose (Alces alces) and elk (Cervus elaphus) in Ontario, we measured collisions along a 20 km segment of railway using post-winter railbed surveys (11 consecutive years), remote cameras, and radio-telemetered elk. We used these data to estimate provincial moose-train collision rates by extrapolating collision rates, moose density, and amount of high use railway per Wildlife Management Unit (WMU). The annual collision rate varied from 0 to 7 moose and 2 to 22 elk on the 20 km section of railway; the combined collision rate of moose and elk was highest in winters with above average snowfall. The extrapolated collision rates of moose indicated that ~1/3 of WMUs had a rate > 0.08 moose/km high use railway/yr; ~2/3 had a rate > 0.04. A conservative estimate of annual mortality was ~265 moose province-wide. Given that railway expansion is predicted globally, and specifically in Ontario, planning should include potential mitigation strategies that minimize ungulate-train collisions.

Keywords


Caribou; elk; moose; railroad; wildlife-train collisions

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