Brianna Burley has been a senior member of the Human-Wildlife Conflict Program for the Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay Field Unit for Parks Canada (PC) for years. More recently, as an MSC student in Geography and Biology with the University of Calgary, she’s taking this passion for problem solving to a new level.
In collaboration with Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), Parks Canada and the University of Alberta, she’s tackling one of the final frontiers in an effort to reduce bear mortality on the railroad tracks.
The project uses a technology we’ve all seen on the ski slopes – GoPro cameras. GoPro cameras (or Loco-Cams) are mounted to the front of trains to capture what bears are doing during a bear-train interaction that leads to their mortality or escape.
Supervised by Dr. Dianne Draper, Brianna will be evaluating two seasons of footage taken in Banff and Yoho National Parks. She will also conduct on-site investigations looking at the relationship of risk between behavior of bears in the video and local environmental factors.
The results of the study will help Parks Canada and Canadian Pacific Railway make informed decision about how to reduce and hopefully eliminate unnecessary bear deaths on and along the tracks.
By reducing bear mortality along the railroad, Y2Y hopes this will help slow down the declining numbers of Alberta’s Threatened grizzly population. The information will also be valuable for other railways across North America that encounter the same issue.
Related News Story:
February 28, 2013 - Trains fitted with video through the Rockies