/Watching for wildlife

Watching for wildlife

By Chad Ingram

Published May 25 2016

The Ministry of Natural Resources andForestry is teaming up with the OPP and the Ministry ofTransportation in an attempt to reduce the number of collisionsinvolving cars and deer in Haliburton County.

David May of the MNRF gave countycouncillors an update on the partnership during their May 25 meeting.

“It's still a relatively newpartnership we're working on” May said explaining thatconversations began in 2014 after the ministry received a complaintfrom a resident who got into a collision with a deer in an area wherethe animals were being fed.

Despite ministry warnings that feedingdeer is dangerous both for the animals and for humans feedingcontinues to be a common practice for some county residents.Haliburton County has the second-highest rate of animal-vehiclecollision in the province next only to Manitoulin May said thenumber of reported collisions sometimes exceeding 200 a year. So farin 2016 61 have been reported.

“Many of them go unreported so weknow there's a higher number of them happening” May said addingthe vast majority of these collisions likely involve deer.

A map showed most of the reportedcollisions taking place along the county's major arteries includingHighways 35 and 118 and County Road 21.

May said the targeted reduction ofbrush near “hot spots” where deer are known to cross roadways isone way municipalities could help to reduce the number of collisions.

“So that folks driving along havemore of an opportunity to see animals coming out of the bush” hesaid.

May said the ministry would like towork with the county government on the roads it is responsible forand that creating bylaws regulating deer-feeding was another waymunicipalities could contribute.

He said if residents wanted to helpdeer rather than feeding them packing down trails they use duringthe wintertime would be more helpful.

“People need to think about whattheir actions are and how those actions may be spinning out into thecommunity” said Algonquin Highlands Reeve and County Warden CarolMoffatt who noted an Algonquin Highlands fire truck was once in acollision with a deer in an area where the animals were being fed.

Moffatt said the county could work withthe ministry on brush-clearing and that councillors could broach theissue at lake association meetings during the summer.

Theministry is also working on a public awareness campaign and exploringa partnership with the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario.