Research grants were awarded to teams to further mitigate rail-related grizzly bear mortality in Banff and Yoho national parks in Canada. Projects will be supported by robust monitoring to determine effectiveness and begin in spring 2012, pending approval of animal care protocols.
Project teams are from the University of Alberta and the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University, led by Dr. Colleen Cassady St. Clair, in collaboration with Dr. Scott Nielsen and Dr. Tony Clevenger. Over the next four years, research initiatives championed by these teams and supported by experts from Parks Canada and Canadian Pacific, will test the effectiveness of grain aversion, determine potential off-site habitat improvement and better identify the root-causes of grizzly bear mortality along the rail corridor.
Parks Canada’s short-term actions benefiting from research grants under the Joint Action Plan include a bear GPS collaring and monitoring program, as well as sight-line and sound-line improvements through vegetation management. In addition, the initiative will establish an off-site test area to evaluate fence and closure alternatives to assess what infrastructure is needed to stop bears from accessing the railway corridor.
All of these initiatives are part of the five-year Joint Action Plan announced by Parks Canada and Canadian Pacific in October 2010.