The N.W.T. Department of Transportation says a bison hopped over the guardrails of the Deh Cho Bridge and on to the road surface.

A photo showing a bison on the opposite side of a new Texas gate, or cattle guard, on the Deh Cho Bridge has been circulating on Facebook. 

Earl Blacklock, a spokesman for the department, says the animal hopped over the bridge guardrails, bypassing the newly-installed gates meant to keep the bison off the bridge. Blacklock says the gates are wide enough that bison can't jump over them. 

The bridge shut down overnight two weeks ago to install the new gates. Rails over an open pit span the two lanes of traffic and are five metres long. The rails are designed to be far enough apart that animals don't want to place their hooves on the rounded surface. 

The guardrails on the bridge are now approximately 0.9 metres high. The department has plans to heighten the rails by an additional 0.4 metres this fall but the steel has not arrived on site yet.

Bison frequently congregate near the approach to the north side of the Deh Cho Bridge. Last winter, the department used painted, life-size cut outs of wolves doused in synthetic wolf urine to deter the animals from walking up on the structure.