Alexandra Pope, staff writer
June 6, 2011 — People across Canada are emerging from their winter hibernation -- and so are animals. Officials say people must take care when they encounter wildlife on the road and in the bush.
Large mammals like moose, deer and elk pose a danger to drivers year-round, but that danger is heightened in the spring, says Rod Cumberland with the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources.
“Moose are having their calves, deer are having their fawns, so they're kind of slowing down as far as their movements go,” he explains.
At dawn and dusk and in overcast weather, it may be difficult to see animals on the road -- and where there's one animal, there are likely more at this time of year, Cumberland adds.
“If you see one crossing the road, usually there'll be a couple of other little ones coming out behind,” he says. “People always need to use caution when driving ... but this time of year, be even that much more cautious.”
Young wildlife also pose a risk to hikers and other adventurers, who may spot a baby animal by itself and assume it's been abandoned. That can be a dangerous assumption, says Dave Ealey, a spokesperson for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development.
“Quite often animals will be left by the mother for a period of time while she’s off getting food ... and it’s not they’ve abandoned the offspring,” he says. “We want people to recognize the potential for causing problems for the young, and also potentially exposing themselves to the adult coming along and trying to defend their young.”
If you spot an animal by itself, the best course of action is to stay a safe distance away. If you think the animal may be injured or sick, call your local wildlife office.