The best way to avoid car-moose collisions on Canadian country roads is to remove salt pools.
According to a new study, moose, elk and caribou are drawn to the salt pools that collect following pavement de-icings. The presence of salt pools increases the probability of a moose-automobile collision by 80 percent.
"When the scheduled time came to go to a salt pool, moose moved directly to it with purpose," says Paul D. Grosman, a graduate student at Concordia University, who led the study.
Moose are drawn to the salt pools due to the salt pools’ high concentration of sodium. Grosman says the salt pools’ sodium concentration is two to three times higher than the aquatic plants moose typically use to get their sodium fixes.
The sodium-rich pools draw moose from miles away, and across roads that automobiles travel along.
Grosman’s study recommends eliminating salt pools altogether, which could reduce moose crossings by 79 percent, thus lowering the probability of a collision.
More expensive options included fencing highways or constructing wildlife underpasses.
The three year study tagged 47 moose and tracked the animals using global positioning chips. The research team created, eliminated and moved the pools to have a better sense the animals’ salt-seeking behaviors.
The findings were detailed in the journal Ecological Modeling.
Find the copy here: Trade-off between road avoidance and attraction by roadside salt pools in moose