Although an abundance of animal carcasses can be an unpleasant sight, it may come as a relief that there are locals in the community who are trying to solve the problem of dead or injured animals on the highway.
Rob and Loretta Schaufele from Bellevue are good examples of just that.
Both are involved with a website called Road Watch in the Pass, a science project that has been in existence in the Pass since 2004.
The purpose of Road Watch is to get drivers to report dead and injured wildlife on the highways, with information like the type of animal and its location.
Wildlife sightings on railways are also encouraged, in addition to highway sightings.
“We want to make the highway safer for people and wildlife,” said Loretta.
“We are trying to promote awareness about the issue that Highway 3 has, an issue that is overlooked by many people these days.”
Loretta’s husband, Rob, was a coordinator of the website and is often on random drives for animal sightings and highway tests.
Loretta is a counsellor, who educates the public about road ecology through meetings and social media.
“The Pass has a large amount of wildlife that are killed on the highway,” said Loretta.
“We want to start implanting solutions that we know work, like wildlife over and under passes and funnel fencing.”
Given the time and effort spent on this ongoing project, it seems as though Rob and Loretta’s efforts are about to pay off, as they are finalists for a 2013 Emerald Award in the community group category.
“We’re excited about the award because it will bring attention to a big issue in the province,” said Loretta. “We are also thankful that our efforts are noticed here in the community.”
The Emerald Awards will be presented at a gala in Edmonton on June 6th.
“Another exciting thing about the awards is that we will get to meet other people who are finalists as well, she said.” We want to meet the many people who are making huge progress in the province for their environmental efforts as well.”
Road Watch has currently around 5,000 wildlife sightings since it was started nine years ago.
“Our vision for the Crowsnest Pass is that we will have those safe structure strategies in place so that our people are safe, the people who travel through here are safe and of course, the animals are safe,” said Loretta.
“It’s a big endeavor but we’re going to try our best.”
For more information, visit www.rockies.ca/roadwatch.