The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will observe this week in September as “Watch Out for Wildlife (WOW) Awareness Week,” which strives to reduce the number of wildlife-related injuries and vehicle passenger fatalities on the state’s highways.
The Defenders of Wildlife, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting native animals and plants, estimates that 1.5 million animals are hit on the nation’s roadways each year. In addition, more than 200 people are killed in collisions with deer, elk and other wildlife. Wildlife-vehicle collisions cause $1 billion in property damage.
Matt Rocco with Cal-trans shares some driver tips when driving in a wild life area as we do here in Nevada County.
“Be particularly aware when you are in those wildlife areas. If you see an animal crossing the road, know that other animals may be following, especially during mating season. Slowing down is a good idea as well.”
Cal-trans also reminds rivers not to litter as food can entice animals to come onto the road and smaller animals may go into the road for food or just to investigate something shiny that attracts their attention. Caltrans encourages you to join with them in protecting wildlife, as well as motorists, during “Watch Out for Wildlife Awareness Week.”
The campaign is sponsored by Caltrans, the California Department of Fish and Game, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis. Caltrans believes the awareness week will assist in planning for the conservation of natural resources while providing safe and effective transportation.