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Traffic Injury Research Foundation and Eco-Kare International receive State Farm funding to examine wildlife-vehicle collisions in Canada

OTTAWA, April 19, 2012 /CNW/ - The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) and Eco-Kare International are pleased to announce their partnership in a feasibility study to create a Canadian wildlife-vehicle collision database. Funding for this study is provided by State Farm as a primary sponsor. The study is the first step in the creation of a much-needed national clearing house on wildlife-vehicle collisions.  

Researchers look to summarize all the available data about wildlife-vehicle collisions in Canada, and will look at pertinent research questions that have to be answered in order to effectively and efficiently address the problem of wildlife-vehicle collisions.  

“In Canada there is no centralized data clearing house on wildlife-vehicle collisions,” explains Robyn Robertson, TIRF President and CEO. “And as we look more closely at the problem, we are seeing some reports from provincial and territorial governments and insurance companies reporting property damage and injury claims totaling in the tens of millions; and for Canada as a whole, it is estimated that these collisions may cost over 200-million dollars annually. This is indicative of the importance of this traffic safety issue.”  

Wildlife conservation is also a concern for project partners; TIRF would like to thank the Ontario Wildlife Foundation (OWF) for providing additional funding for the project. TIRF is partnering with Eco-Kare International, a company out of Peterborough, Ontario, that specializes in translating road ecology science into practical road mitigation solutions.

“This study isn’t exclusively about transportation safety and cost,” notes Eco-Kare Principal, Kari Gunson. “There can be great ecological implications for animals that live in areas adjacent to our roads and that travel across roads during annual migrations and rutting seasons. These road-wildlife interactions need to be accurately measured to provide effective mitigation strategies and the creation of a national database would help guide our decisions.”  

Main project sponsor State Farm mirrors researchers’ concern and understands the project’s importance. The company’s data indicates the average property damage cost of these incidents during the final half of 2010 and the first half of 2011 was $3,171, up 2.2 percent from the year before.  

“State Farm is pleased to be partnering with TIRF and Eco-Kare on this important safety initiative,” notes John Bordignon, State Farm Media Relations Spokesperson. “A recent Transport Canada report found that between four to eight large animal vehicle collisions take place every hour. In Ontario, the Ministry of Natural Resources estimates there is a motor vehicle-wild animal collision every 38 minutes. These alarming statistics are a call to action. We want to help Canadian drivers, their passengers, transportation fleets, and business owners become better educated about the dangers wildlife can pose on our roadways.”  

State Farm, TIRF, Eco-Kare and the Ontario Wildlife Foundation agree that this project is essential to support the efforts of governments and communities to address this issue to make roads safer for all Canadians and also protect one of Canada’s valued natural resources. Work is already underway on the study with results of the study expected for the last quarter of 2012.  

About TIRF. Established in 1964, TIRF’s mission is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries. As a national, independent, charitable road safety research institute, TIRF designs, promotes, and implements effective programs and policies, based on sound research. TIRF is a registered charity and depends on grants, contracts, and donations to provide services for the public. Visit us online at www.tirf.ca or join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tirfcanada.  

About Eco-Kare. Eco-Kare International is a federally incorporated company established in Ontario, Canada in 2009 in response to an increasing demand for green infrastructure. Eco-Kare specializes in translating road ecology science into practical road mitigation solutions. Learn more about Eco-Kare at www.eco-kare.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ecoKare.  

About State Farm®. State Farm has been serving Canadians since 1938. State Farm and its affiliates are the fourth largest auto insurance provider, and the seventh largest property and casualty insurer in Canada. In addition to providing affordable car insurance rates, State Farm has more than 500 Canadian agents and 1300 employees providing insurance and financial services including mutual funds, life insurance, vehicle loans, critical illness, disability, home and auto insurance to our customers in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick. For more information, please visit www.statefarm.ca, join us on Facebook www.facebook.com/statefarmcanada, follow us on Twitter twitter.com/statefarm, or see us on YouTube www.youtube.com/statefarm.  

About the Ontario Wildlife Foundation. The OWF’s mandate is to raise funds and awareness for the conservation of Ontario’s fish and wildlife habitat through research and restoration. Our strength is finding funding partners on conservation projects and conservation education programs. Our primary challenges are loss of habitat and the disconnection of our youth from nature. Without that connection, future support for conservation work will be severely diminished and our wildlife will suffer. For more information please visit www.ontwf.org.   – 30 – Click here to view Social Media Release.  
 

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