Residents of Radium Hot Springs protest to save big sheep from dying on highway
Residents of the village of Radium Hot Springs in BC are pushing for change to help save a flock of bighorn sheep.
They are a wonderful sight to both locals and tourists, but this winter, the number of dead sheep near Radium Hot Springs has spiked.
“Everybody was shocked. Everyone was terrified. People are discouraged,” said Mayor Clara Reinhardt of Radium Hot Springs.
The number of bighorn sheep in the Radium Hot Springs herd has halved in the past 20 years, to about 120 now.
Previously, an average of 10 people were killed each year in highway crashes but since November there have been at least 13 road deaths according to a local wildlife scientist.
University of British Columbia wildlife scientist Clayton Lamb said: “Seven sheep were killed in January alone, so it looks like 2022 we are on track to be a record year. “.
28, shortly before 6:30 p.m., officers from the Columbia Valley detachment were called to reports of a collision involving a sheep about two kilometers from Radium Hot Springs, the RMCP said. South.
The sheep died at the scene and the driver and his passenger were examined at the scene but were not injured. Their car has to be towed.
Possible reasons for this winter’s spike in deaths include an increase in traffic as the Trans-Canada Highway is rerouted because of construction work.
In addition, heavy snowfall in December can cause the animals to find lawns near highways, where they can also be seen licking road salt.
“Please slow down. You’re in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Have a look. There’s no need for you to be this fast,” said Reinhardt.
The inhabitants of the village have started a Facebook awareness campaign where the number of dead sheep was recorded.
Nicole Trigg, who started the chapter Help the Radium Bighorn Facebook page.
The residents have also set a fundraising goal of $400,000 to build a wildlife flyover.
“The solutions should be an overpass and fence or some form of wildlife crossing where we can drive sheep over or under the highway and keep them off the highway,” said Mr Lamb. speed.
“We know how to build good infrastructure in BC but maybe we need to start taking wildlife into consideration for the infrastructure. And these are the kinds of projects where we can allow animals to cross the highways more safely, while keeping people and vehicles and their loved ones safer.
“So it’s one of those win-win situations where we can keep people and wildlife safer.”
New signs and flashing lights were recently added to the highway, and this weekend provincial patrols conducted marked vehicles, warning motorists about the animals.
“Now when you get to Radium Hill you are clearly entering an area where something is going on with additional signage and flashing lights and it has made a huge difference. We have no deaths this weekend despite a large amount of traffic pouring into the Columbia Valley,” Trigg said.
She said local merchants are also selling products labeled “Slow Your Roll Save the Sheep.”
“There is a local clothing company in town called Kootenay Clothing Company and they have come up with a logo and are selling t-shirts, hoodies and bumper stickers where all the proceeds from the sale The goods will be used to raise funds for the flyover,” said Trigg.
Global News contacted BC’s Department of Transport and Infrastructure but received no response.
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https://globalnews.ca/news/8600645/radium-hot-springs-bighorn-sheep-death-highway/ Residents of Radium Hot Springs protest to save big sheep from dying on highway