Calgary

Death of 3rd grizzly in 5 years on same stretch of Trans-Canada spur calls for wildlife crossing

A conservation specialist says a wildlife crossing bridge is needed, after a third grizzly in five years was hit and killed on the same stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway west of Calgary.

'It's concerning,' says Joanna Skrajny, with the Alberta Wilderness Association

A grizzly is pictured on a road barrier on Highway 93 last year. A conservation expert is calling for a new wildlife crossing to be installed on the Trans-Canada Highway, after a bear was struck and killed. (Submitted by Mark Pollon)

A conservation specialist says a wildlife crossing bridge is needed, after a third grizzly in five years was hit and killed on the same stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway west of Calgary.

On Aug. 28, a 275-kilogram (600-pound) male grizzly was discovered dead at the side of the highway near Jumpingpound Creek, about 40 kilometres west of Calgary. 

"It's concerning," said Joanna Skrajny, with the Alberta Wilderness Association. "You start to question when the numbers start to add up, 'What are we going to do about this situation? What can we do?'"

Skrajny suggested a wildlife crossing could help, as well as mitigation efforts like removing roadkill or vegetation from the area.

"Clearing any food sources that might be attracting the bears and providing them ways to safely cross if they do need to get from one area to another," she said.

There are dozens of wildlife underpasses and overpasses between Banff National Park and Yoho National Park. An overpass east of the community of Lac Des Arcs is in the planning stages.

Skrajny estimates around 70 grizzlies live in the Banff area, out of around 700 in the province. She said it's vital to protect that population.

The Alberta Wilderness Association is awaiting an update from the province on bear mortality rates — and the status of the province's grizzly population — over the last two years.

With files from Dave Will

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