Officials with the Saskatchewan Environment Ministry have now responded to a disturbing video showing a Canadian Pacific Railway train running over dozens of pronghorn antelope — which CP confirms occurred near Maple Creek, Sask. on Nov. 15.
The Environment Ministry clarified several points about the incident Wednesday saying:
- Train collisions with wildlife are a common occurrence.
- This particular incident was reported to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment — although they did not clarify when and in what capacity.
They also indicated that “conservation officers have responded to four incidents involving train collisions with pronghorn between Nov. 9 and 20. CP Rail reported all four incidents to the Provincial Emergency Communications Centre. More than 100 animals were killed in these four events.”
Ministry officials say pronghorn population numbers are monitored by the Saskatchewan government and hunting licenses distributed are updated to reflect population changes.
When it comes to avoiding future incidents, Global News asked Transport Canada about any mitigating efforts that could be made.
Transport Canada responded, “when encountering wildlife, we expect railway companies to follow adequate safety protocols to ensure rail safety.”
CP would not clarify to Global News what its safety protocols are with regards to wildlife, but wildlife expert from Lethbridge College Terry Kowalchuk suggested some simple options:
- slowing trains down seasonally with animal migration patterns
- creating exit points for animals to exit the tracks
- stopping at road crossings to allow for animals to pass.
In a statement issued to Global News on Monday, Canadian Pacific Railway officials said an investigation into the incident is ongoing.