Researchers in Banff National Park have captured an image of the elusive lynx doing something rarely seen – it was using a highway-wildlife overpass to cross the Trans-Canada Highway. This unique image, captured by motion-sensitive cameras, offers an extraordinary glimpse of an animal that many Canadians have never seen.
The local and international implications of this image are significant. Locally, the image illustrates the important role wildlife crossing structures continue to play in both minimizing human-caused deaths as well as providing animals like lynx with access to diverse habitats on both sides of the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park. Internationally, this news will be a boost to wildlife managers with sensitive lynx populations, like Colorado, where plans are already in place to build highway-wildlife crossing structures.
Highways pose significant challenges to wildlife by interrupting movement patterns, keeping animals from important habitat, causing genetic isolation, and by direct mortality from collisions with motor vehicles. The effects reach beyond individual wildlife populations and pose broader conservation, economic and social consequences, including considerable human safety risk from wildlife-vehicle collisions.
While lynx have used wildlife crossings in Banff National Park in the past, these occurrences are quite rare and usually the images captured are of poor quality.
Read more about lynx and the story behind this amazing image at the newly launched ‘Highway Wilding’ website. Highway Wilding is a new online resource that showcases pioneering research from Banff National Park’s world-famous highway animal crossing structures. The site also features compelling images, practical information for wildlife managers, and a number of webisodes made by award-winning Canadian filmmaker Leanne Allison.
Researchers from the Miistakis Institute and Parks Canada, who collaborate on research and monitoring highway-wildlife animal crossings in Banff National Park, are available for interviews in regards to this exciting discovery.
For more information about lynx in Canada’s mountain national parks visit, click here.