Evaluating the effectiveness of wildlife accident mitigation installations with the wildlife accident reporting system (WARS) in British Columbia
The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation (BC MoT) administers the Wildlife Accident Reporting System (WARS), a database designed to collect and analyze information on wildlife killed on provincial highways. Over 70,000 wild animal accidents have been recorded in the WARS database since 1978. More than 90 percent of the accidents involve large ungulates, primarily deer, moose and elk. Since the mid-1980’s, BC MoT has invested heavily in wildlife exclusion fencing and wildlife warning reflectors in an effort to reduce the number of ungulaterelated motor vehicle accidents on provincial highways. To better focus its resources and stem the rising societal cost of human fatalities and injuries, motor vehicle damage, highway clean-up, and lost wildlife value, BC MoT is using the WARS database to identify problem wildlife accident locations and investigate the effectiveness of existing wildlife accident mitigation installations. As part of the effectiveness investigation, the performance of Swarflex and Strieter-Lite wildlife warning reflectors is being assessed. Research findings on the fundamental spectrometric and photometric characteristics of the reflectors raise questions regarding how wildlife warning reflectors may influence ungulate roadside behavior, and which reflector designs and installation configurations may be best suited for highway applications.