When most of us think about being “bear aware”, we think about storing food properly on camping trips and eliminating attractants in our back yards. How many of us think about bears during our morning commute? We should. It could save a life.
Each year more than 200 motorists are killed and thousands more are injured in animal-vehicle collisions in the US. In addition, between 1–2 million vehicle collisions with large animals occurs each year that result in $8.4 billion in damages. Black bears are one of the large animals hit by vehicles.
To address this issue, Bear Trust is developing a new program called “Brake for Bears”. In collaboration with bear scientists and state bear biologists throughout the US, we are identifying areas where bear mortality due to vehicle strikes is high. To reduce these mortalities, we’re using signs, education, other outreach, and potentially wildlife underpasses. Partnering with Mississippi Wildlife, we are beginning our program in the Lower Mississippi River area where the Louisiana black bear was recently delisted. Our plan is to then take our “Brake for Bears” program on the road (so to speak) and bring it to every region across the US.
We’ll be updating this webpage soon with more details as we move forward with this important program. Stay tuned!