Lab Canada

$1M funds research into protecting grizzly bears in Banff National Park

Calgary, AB – Fred Green, Canadian Pacific’s president and chief executive officer, has announced $1 million in funding for a multi-faceted, research-based, five-year action plan to further mitigate rail-related grizzly bear mortality in Banff National Park. The plan is being operated jointly with Parks Canada

Railway-related wildlife mortality is complex. Rail-related causes of grizzly bear mortality can include the presence of grain, bear behaviour, using the tracks as a travel route, and conditions adjacent to the railway such as seasonal bear foods, habitat quality, carcasses, terrain, travel conditions and snow conditions.

Significant progress has been made in reducing railway-related grain spills within the national parks, including employing unique track vacuum vehicles to remove large spills and utilizing parks-specific operating procedures. The railway is also nearing completion of its $20-million unloading gate replacement program for federally-owned grain hopper cars.

“CP is pleased to take the next logical step and provide $1 million to launch an empirically-based joint program to build on existing knowledge and further explore grizzly behaviour and potential mitigating technologies and practices, especially those related to railway applications,” said Mr Green. “CP remains committed to being the industry leader in environmental stewardship through ongoing efforts to reduce attractants, implement effective solutions to target problematic areas along our tracks, and to collaborate with Parks Canada engineers to develop and contribute funding for unique mitigative wildlife structures.”

Near-term actions within the plan will include vegetation management, whistle zones, reviewing opportunities for wildlife fencing and culverts in high risk areas and working with grain terminal operators to encourage loading practices that will further prevent grain spillage within the national parks. Through the new research program other experimentation may be employed to dissuade grizzly bears from searching for grain on the tracks.