Train speed was a major factor in the deaths of wildlife on railroad tracks in Canada’s Banff and Yoho national parks, a recent study found. Looking at 646 wildlife deaths between 1995 and 2018, researchers found “the top predictor was speed,” lead author Colleen Cassady St. Clair, a University of Alberta science professor, told the Canadian Press. “More animals died where trains were traveling fast.”
Trains are a leading cause of death in the parks, particularly for grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis), as well as wolves (Canis lupus), elk (Cervus canadensis) and other species.
In addition to speed, track curvature and proximity to water were important factors in wildlife deaths along the tracks, the study found.