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Researchers tracking moose movement to improve highway safety

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In Canada, tens of thousands of animal-vehicle collisions are recorded each year, and according to Transport Canada, the numbers are growing. Luckily, a new research project is underway to help combat the issue and improve highway safety.

The project, which was started by researchers from the University of Saskatchewan, will track moose in order to gather data based on their movements, especially around highways.

Earlier this week, the team placed tracking collars on 17 moose near an area of Highway 11, between Saskatoon and Regina, where moose are commonly hit by passing motorists. The GPS collars will give the researchers hourly updates on the animals’ movements.

While collaring the moose can be a stressful experience for the animal, project director Ryan Brook told the CBC, “We really take great pains to make sure we have a very short chase time and very short handling time.”

The researchers haven’t tracked any large movements yet, though it is expected to take them two years to finish the study. Once complete, they hope to answer questions about why certain rural highways become “hot spots” for moose crossings, which could lead to greater overall moose management.