Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Elk graze calmly by the highway in Jasper Park
Jasper National Park is teeming with wildlife. A drive along the Yellowhead means a virtual guarantee of seeing deer, elk, mountain sheep or goats along the road. It's important to be cautious when driving through the park, especially at dusk when animals graze.
They can jump so suddenly up out of ditches in front of cars that it is impossible to stop. Each year, signs announce the wildlife highway mortality rates in the park -- more than a hundred animals each year, and 149 in 1990, the record year.
Obviously, accidents involving such large and heavy animals are very dangerous for motorists too. One friend had her nose broken when a collision with a deer caused her airbag to deploy. Her car was totaled.
Travelers who see a number of cars pulled over in the park rightly infer that there are animals to be observed. As for these elk, they seemed not the least bit concerned about the humans exclaiming over them and taking pictures. With the huge numbers of people passing through the park, they must be used to it.