Wolves Using Highway Underpasses in Kootenay National Park

Wolves use one of three underpasses along Highway 93 South in Kootenay National Park. Photo: Parks Canada

Wolves use one of three underpasses along Highway 93 South in Kootenay National Park.
Photo: Parks Canada

Remote camera images show wolves regularly using three recently-added underpasses which allow wildlife to cross Highway 93 South in Kootenay National Park in Canada.

“We put in these three underpasses in the summer of 2013,” said Trevor Kinley, manager of the wildlife crossings project in Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay national parks. “When you put in new crossing structures, you expect a learning curve — some time for animals to get used to them and start using them.  It can be several years before that would happen.”

Photo: Parks Canada

Photo: Parks Canada

However, images from this winter show a recognized pack of about a dozen wolves using the structures, both individually and in groups.  The cameras caught the wolves using the structures at least 14 times.  Other animals photographed using the crossings include snowshoe hares and deer.

Wildlife crossings such as these have reduced wildlife/vehicle accidents by 80 percent in Banff National Park, which features six overpasses and 38 underpasses.  No formal data yet exists for how effective the Kootenay underpasses are at reducing such collisions, but, anecdotally, Kinley says they are likely helping.

The original article by the Calgary Herald includes a short video of the pack using the wildlife underpass.

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