Highway Wilding launches website

We are pleased to announce the official launch of our Highway Wilding website!  For more information on the website and the international collaboration behind the project, please read our media release below.

International Collaboration Supports Animal and Human Transportation

Newly launched ‘Highway Wilding’ website is one of the world’s leading online roadway ecology resource for decision makers, wildlife educators and the public

Calgary, April 4, 2012 – Today the Miistakis Institute, in partnership with Parks Canada, the Woodcock Foundation, the Wilburforce Foundation, and the Western Transportation Institute, announced the launch of a new online wildlife resource, www.highwaywilding.org. The new website provides an immersive journey into the science and policy aspects of roadway ecology and is considered one of the world’s most current and comprehensive resources for transportation planners and decision makers in this emerging field of study.

Showcasing pioneering research from Banff National Park’s world-famous highway animal crossing structures, the website also features wildlife images, practical information for wildlife managers, Google Earth fly-through components, and a number of short webisodes made by award-winning Canadian filmmaker Leanne Allison espousing the value of wildlife crossing structures (www.youtube.com/user/highwaywilding/videos).

“On behalf of our partners and our expert researchers, I am delighted to share with the world stories and knowledge relating to highway ecology policy and science, along with an abundance of compelling videos and imagery,” said Danah Duke, Director of the Miistakis Institute.

The online resource was created by the Miistakis Institute as part of a five-year, $1 million contribution agreement made by Parks Canada to continue wildlife mitigation research and monitoring on twinned portions of the Trans-Canada Highway through Banff National Park. In total, over $1.7 million will be invested by all partners on research and monitoring as well as public education projects.

Highways pose significant challenges to wildlife by interrupting movement patterns, keeping animals from important habitat, causing genetic isolation, and by direct mortality from collisions with motor vehicles. The effects reach beyond individual wildlife populations and pose broader conservation, economic and social consequences, including a considerable human safety risk from wildlife-vehicle collisions.

“We are hopeful that information contained on this website will act as a catalyst as we move towards integrating and reconciling the transportation needs of both people and wildlife in Canada and the world-over,” said Dr. Tony Clevenger, one of the world’s preeminent roadway ecology scientists and the leader of the Highway Wilding Project research team.  “This new online resource builds on the work of Parks Canada, the agency that has done the most in Canada to implement wildlife mitigation on its roadways, and the Western Transportation Institute, who are recognized leaders in understanding how wildlife interact with roads, and what we can do to mitigate impacts.”

Since 1996, animals such as grizzly bears, elk and cougars have successfully used overpasses and underpasses more than 200,000 times to cross the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park, and wildlife mortality has decreased by 80% in places where crossing structures and wildlife fencing exist.

About Miistakis: The Miistakis Institute brings people and ideas together to promote healthy communities and landscapes.  We study the landscape, so we can help people conserve it; and we celebrate innovative research by making it accessible to communities and decision-makers.  The Miistakis Institute is a not-for-profit research institute affiliated with the University of Calgary.

About Parks Canada: Within a growing network of 42 National Parks, four national
marine conservation areas and 167 national historic sites, Parks Canada protects and
presents nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage on
behalf of present and future generations. Parks Canada has a mandate to manage this
legacy by maintaining or improving ecological integrity and creating meaningful
opportunities that connect Canadians to their heritage.

About the Western Transportation InstituteFounded in 1994 by the Montana and California Departments of Transportation in cooperation with Montana State University-Bozeman, the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) has grown from a small, university research office into a nationally recognized center of excellence in rural transportation research and education.

About the Wilburforce Foundation The Wilburforce Foundation protects wildlife habitat in Western North America by actively supporting organizations and leaders advancing conservation solutions. The Wilburforce Foundation has been involved in wildlife monitoring and mitigation research along the Trans-Canada Highway since 2005. Wilburforce supports efforts to shed light on the movement patterns and habitat needs of focal species in the west and efforts to investigate means for mitigating the negative consequences that can arise when wildlife and human habitats overlap.

About the Woodcock FoundationThe Woodcock Foundation is a progressive family foundation established to link family creativity and resources with community development needs. The Woodcock Foundation has been involved in wildlife monitoring and mitigation research along the Trans-Canada Highway since 2005 and is a key partner in raising the international awareness around wildlife movement and protection while promoting feasible, buildable context-sensitive and compelling design solutions for safe, efficient, cost-effective, and ecologically responsive wildlife crossings.

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