Urgent action needed for Radium’s bighorn sheep
Letter to the Editor
I believe that urgent action is required to save our Bighorn sheep. There is no time to waste.
As a permanent resident of our valley, I have been following the decline of our magnificent wildlife populations for many years. As more and more people discover the marvellous values and setting of our Rocky Mountain Trench the human population growth and the demand for human space is increasing.
Pressure on wildlife is the result of human growth and other variables resulting in wildlife habitat loss and the reality of highways/roads mortality.
The recent articles in the paper informs us about the elevated and ongoing loss of bighorn sheep in the Radium Hot Springs general area which is alarming. It heralds the future demise of a very healthy herd that has inhabited their range for historical times. They are invaluable.
There seems to be an elephant in the room that is not seen as elected officials seem to be reluctant to discuss. It is cars and speed which is the cause for most of the fatalities. What we need is to convince the decision makers with B.C. highways to reduce highway speeds, enforce lower speeds in high mortality sections (barriers/mounds) and implement very heavy fines on guilty drivers. The presence of cameras and full-time personnel at peak traffic hours is a must. I am sure that revenue from speeding fines would more than pay for personal enforcing posted speeds.
There are groups that collect donations and grants to promote a healthy environment. With their knowledge and active involvement they can be the voice of the people to act to minimize the loss of more sheep. I think this would take the big communal effort of elected officials, and any group or individuals that love our Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. This could be a worthy cause that would unite our population.
Yes, I do know that the roundabout and the enhancements on the road in Radium were done to expedite traffic for our visitors and part time residents. There is no use regretting that protective infrastructures to protect wildlife should have been done at the same time.
I also understand some parties are reluctant to discuss lower highway speeds. Talks about overpasses and other infrastructure to be built in the future are supported by most people but until protection projects take place, we must lower the highway speeds now.
Failure to act now could result in the only bighorns being seen would be found on the Radium roundabout.