Four fatal crashes with moose in two weeks prompts reminder to watch for Alberta wildlife

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The worst year for fatal collisions involving animals in Alberta was in 2017 at 10.

On average, nearly 430 people are injured in these kinds of crashes each year. Property damage is generally around $11,000.

Lemont said wildlife collisions and hail are the two main causes of damage claims in the province.

“They’re also among the most expensive with the average claim hopping around $8,000 for a collision with wildlife,” he said. “Alberta Transportation combined the direct and indirect costs for wildlife collisions at about $280 million a year.”

In 2019 a study by the American College of Surgeons found vehicle collisions involving moose were 13 times more likely to result in death than crashes with deer. The study found that when a vehicle strikes the large animal, which can weigh between 800 to 1,300 pounds, moose tend to bulk into the windshield and roof.

Lemont said they haven’t finalized their data for this year but he has noticed more movement from animals following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

“When wildlife doesn’t see the presence of humans around, they’ll naturally become more comfortable exploring,” he said. “As we start getting into those months of the year (where deer are mating), they can act unpredictably and they’re moving around too. So all kinds of factors (come into) play.”

Lemont said motorists need to remain alert even when driving along urban roads like Edmonton’s Anthony Henday Drive, which is often visited by wildlife.

“It’s really about being proactive,” he said. “Regardless of where you are, actively scan the ditch constantly, assess the area for any hazards or obstacles. Slow down because the faster you’re going, the greater distance you’re going to travel in order for you to stop.”

jlabine@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/jefflabine