The Nature Conservancy of Canada has a better understanding how wildlife is moving throughout the Crowsnest Pass in hopes of reducing wildlife collisions.
They now have the first-year, preliminary results from their joint three-year wildlife camera monitoring project in the Crowsnest Pass, called Linking Landscapes.
Sean Feagan with NCC says 37 remote cameras were installed along Highway 3, first just to see what was there.
"We found a range of things ranging from large carnivores like grizzly bears and cougars to many ungulates or hooved animals such as elk and deer but also some other creatures like grouse and sandhill cranes and smaller predators like foxes and coyotes," he says.
37 remote cameras were installed along Highway 3. They were installed in a wildlife corridor Nature Conservancy of Canada owns and named after former Premier, the late Jim Prentice in 2018.
Feagan says there are a lot of resident wildlife in the area but it's also important as a movement corridor for wildlife because there are low elevation areas and so instead of trying to travel through the high mountains animals will use this area to move around.
It also acts as a connector between Banff National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park.
"Cougars are known to travel hundreds of kilometres and so they really need those places that serve as connections between large, protected landscapes."
He says the photographs reveal wildlife use culverts and bridges to get around the area which could help determine how they're improved to make it safer.
The hope is the study's results will inform motor vehicle accident mitigation efforts to lower the risk of collisions for both people and wildlife.
"Yes, we are concerned about the wildlife but we don't want anyone to get into collisions either, we don't want anyone to get injured or have their car damaged or anything like that so thinking about these strategies and making Highway 3 safer is great for people and great for nature."