Preventing Wildlife Kills on Railroads
Wildlife & Ecosystems
Research Idea Scope
Train-wildlife collisions are devastating to wildlife populations, and disproportionately so, to species such as moose, grizzly bear, wolverine, and wide-ranging carnivores in general, which have low reproductive rates. Habitat fragmentation effects of transportation infrastructure are part of the problem, but moreso the animal-train casualties appear to be due to the attractant effects of railroads. Attractions for wildlife include food from spilled grain on the tracks or from train-killed animals; a snowfree travel route in deep winter snows; a travel corridor free of vegetation; and/or a railway bridge across a canyon. There is an urgent need to determine causes (we know many of these already), hotspots, and solutions for the wildlife problems due to railroads. The number and frequency of trains nowadays resulting from global trade policies are exacerbating the problems.
Urgency and Payoff
Biodiversity maintenance; maintenance of wildlife populations.
Elaine Somers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Telephone: 206/553-2966