YOUTUBE (TM) INSIGHTS INTO MOOSE-TRAIN INTERACTIONS

Roy V Rea, Kenneth N Child, Daniel A Aitken

Abstract


To gain a better understanding of the behavioral aspects of moose-train encounters, we reviewed videos of ungulate-train interactions available on YouTubetmand from train operators. Video footage consisted of 21 animal-train encounters including moose (Alces alces; 47.4%), cattle (Bos taurus; 15.8%), deer (Odocoileus spp.; 10.5%), elk (Cervus elaphus; 10.5%), camels (Camelus dromedarius; 10.5%), and sheep (Ovis aries; 5.3%). Footage was recorded predominantly in snow-free conditions, but most moose-train interactions were in winter when moose appeared to be trapped by deep snow banks along rail beds. Moose, elk, and deer all ran along the rail bed primarily inside of the tracks and nearer the rails than track center. Collision mortality generally occurred on straight stretches of track. Escapes occurred where a discontinuity in the habitat/setting occurred and/or when train speed was reduced. We suggest that videos can provide a valuable resource for interpreting ungulate reactions to trains and that videos gathered purposefully on railways and posted on open source databases will be useful for studying the dynamics of moose-train collisions for mitigation planning.


Keywords


Alces alces; behavior; collision; train; linear corridor; open source database; railway; tactility; winter mortality

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