July 24, 2008
Numerous animals—including wolves, elk, and moose—have been hit and killed by vehicles in Grand Teton National Park during the past month. Consequently, Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott strongly reminds motorists to slow down and be alert for wildlife that may be traveling across, or wandering near, park roads.
On Wednesday afternoon, July 23, a sub-adult male wolf was hit and killed by a car traveling on Highway 26/89/191 near the Glacier View Turnout. Luckily, the occupants of the vehicle were uninjured; however the young wolf died as a result of the collision, and the car was damaged enough to require it to be towed away. This marks the second time in the past month that a wolf was killed by a motor vehicle. On Monday, June 23, a radio-collared male wolf was killed by a car on Highway 26/287 about 1 3/4 miles east of Moran Junction. Besides these two incidents, one fox, one pronghorn antelope, one bison, two moose, four deer and four elk have also lost their lives in vehicle collisions since the 19th of June.
These recent incidents serve as a reminder that many animals are often wandering across, and roaming near, the park’s roadways. Therefore, motorists must be extra alert while driving and slow down for their own safety, as well as the welfare of park wildlife.
Motorists are reminded to drive the posted speed limit and to be prepared to stop suddenly for wildlife on the roads. Driving slower than indicated speed limits—especially at night—can increase the margin of safety for people and animals. Collisions between motor vehicles and wildlife may result in severe damage to a vehicle, serious or fatal injuries to the occupants of that vehicle, and/or death for the animal involved.
Each year, over 100 animals are hit and killed on park roads. Since the beginning of 2008, a total of 35 animals have been killed in collisions with automobiles. These collisions resulted in the deaths of deer, elk, moose, bison, pronghorn, wolves and smaller creatures such as foxes, otters, and pine martens. With an extra measure of caution—and increased attention to the road—this statistic could be greatly reduced during the remainder of 2008.