deer-1.jpgEstimates say that every year 1.5 million animals are hit on our nation’s highways. With fall almost officially here, deer and elk are starting to migrate to lower elevations in the Eastern Sierra and across our highways and byways. Caltrans and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife have chosen this week as “Watch Out for Wildlife Week”.

According to a press release, the California Highway Patrol reported more than 1800 wildlife-vehicle collisions in 2010 resulting in about $1 billion in property damage. In the same release, the organization known as Defenders of Wildlife reported that more than 200 people are killed in collisions with deer, elk and other wildlife with an estimated 1.5 million animals hit annually in the nation.

Fish and Wildlife’s Deer Program Co-ordinator, Craig Stowers, said, “It’s a shame so many animals are injured and killed on our roads every year.” he said it’s not a pleasant experience for the drivers who hit them either. Said Stowers, “Many deaths, injuries and costly vehicle repairs could be avoided if drivers would just pay more attention, be aware of when animals are most active, and be ready to react safely if an animal moves onto the road.

Some tips for motorists from Caltrans and Fish and Wildlife:

*Be alert in wildlife areas
*If you see an animal cross the road, know that another may be following.
*Don’t litter. That could entice animals into the road.