Moose Project Aims To Use GPS To Increase Safety
GPS trackers are routinely called upon by research scientists to monitor endangered species or observe animal behavior, but now those animal tracking applications could have a direct impact on public safety if the Saskatchewan Farmland Moose Project has success. In an effort to reduce the fatalities associated with motor vehicle accidents involving roaming moose, the Saskatchewan Farmland Moose Project was created to look for patterns in animal movement, behavior or anything that could lead to increased safety. The program, which is being conducted by the University of Saskatchewan, will begin this month when roughly 50 moose will be captured then outfitted with real-time GPS collars
How The Moose Tracker Systems Will Work
Once a moose is captured and equipped with a real-time GPS tracker collar scientists will then be able to track the movements of the animal. This information may be helpful in determining why moose travel near busy highways and roads. The collar tracker systems will function for two years before naturally falling off with no harm to the moose. The primary region being targeted is a stretch of frequently traveled section on Highway 11 between the cities of Saskatoon and Regina. This is the area where moose are routinely documented crossing busy roadways, resulting in a spike in automobile crashes. Even though the transportation authority has put up multiple “Moose Crossing” signs along with other agencies increasing the number of moose hunting licenses in that particular area. One of the challenges wildlife and ecology experts are faced with is a recent trend showing that moose habits and patterns have changed. Numerous farmers familiar with the way moose interact with the land have attested to this in interviews with local farmers. The farmers expressed that in the recent years they have witnessed moose in the region “feeding on peas, alfalfa and canola” with regularity. This change in feeding habits could be what is causing the moose to roam in more populated areas. The goal of the Saskatchewan Farmland Moose Project is to learn more about the animals so better strategies can be created and applied to reduce the unnecessary deaths of both motorists and moose.
Sage is a freelance writer with a background in information technology.