Drivers are to âbrakeâ the wildlife near Amos Pond in Pickering and two new signs remind them to do so.
âSpeed ââhas been proven to be a major factor in the mortality of wildlife on the roads. We are asking drivers crossing Rouge National Urban Park (RNUP) to slow down to save lives, âsaid Leonardo Cabrera, RNUP Environmental Team Leader.
The City of Pickering and Parks Canada have teamed up to create the signs to help reduce the number of wildlife deaths.
âI’m slow. Give me a brake!â Is posted on large single signs with the image of a turtle, along Finch Avenue near Scarborough-Pickering Townline.
âResidents traveling along Finch Avenue won’t be able to miss the new signage,â said Lindsey Narraway, Supervisor of Pickering Animal Services.
The RNUP is ideally located in an urban setting, but it is dissected by busy roads, and moving wildlife is often the victim of fast drivers.
According to recent Parks Canada road surveys and years of data from other interested parties, there have been several animal deaths and injuries near Amos Pond due to collisions between vehicles and animals.
“We know these areas are considered hot spots which means the number of animals compared to all other roads in the park is high and we are concerned to start thinking about mitigation measures,” he said. declared Cabrera.
The pond provides valuable habitat for wildlife such as birds, beavers, snakes, frogs and turtles, including many endangered and threatened species.
âThis pond is recognized as a biodiversity hotspot,â Cabrera said.
Most turtles are endangered species that are declining in number and require extreme protection.
Snakes use roads as a source of heat to warm their bodies, and turtles are known to travel great distances to find mates and sometimes nest on the sides of the road.
âIt is not uncommon to see a family of geese wandering around Finch Avenue daily, and we hope the public will slow down, follow speed zones and be aware of wildlife crossings,â Narraway said.
The new signage will remain in place until early August to coincide with the breeding and nesting season.
Parks Canada will continue to survey the site regularly, hoping to validate that proper signage can help save wildlife.
Reports of injured or dead animals near Amos Pond can be addressed to Parks Canada at 416-264-2020. Reporting the exact location helps staff monitor and respond to injured animals, recover dead people, and plan future wildlife crossings.
Reports of animals deceased elsewhere in Pickering should be directed to the city’s Customer Service Center at 905-683-7575.
Those who see a turtle crossing the road should simply slow down and let it cross. For more information on wildlife crossings, visit parcscanada.gc.ca/rouge-turtles.