DRIVERS ADVISED TO BE AWARE OF CARIBOU ALONG ROUTE 430 IN GROS MORNE
Issued: April 20, 2021
Ends: May 23, 2021
ROCKY HARBOUR, NL, April 20, 2021 – Parks Canada reminds drivers to be cautious at this time of year as they travel through Gros Morne National Park as caribou are frequently seen along the highway.
Caribou have recently moved to the coast north of Rocky Harbour in Gros Morne. This is part of a regular annual movement pattern for the caribou: as the snow melts from the bogs, roadsides and along the shore during spring, caribou move to coastal lowlands to graze. This is both a safety and conservation concern since estimates are that the Gros Morne herd has just several hundred animals.
Drivers should be aware that the typical response of caribou to vehicles differs from moose. Caribou seek open areas where they can run quickly when they sense danger. Caribou often try and run down the road to get away from approaching vehicles, and will often run back onto the road as a vehicle approaches. This erratic behaviour is worsened by the fact that caribou are usually in groups, so it is not uncommon for more than one animal to be hit in a single incident. Caribou are primarily active during the day so drivers should be aware that caribou could be on or near the road throughout the day. Drivers should slow down and be prepared to come to a sudden, full stop whenever they see caribou on or near a road.
In 2020, Parks Canada placed large highway signs along Route 430 in areas caribou are regularly seen this time of year, to warn drivers of the hazard.
Canada’s national parks are gateways to nature, adventure, and discovery. We want to ensure the safety of our visitors and the safety of the wildlife that call this area home. We urge drivers to obey the speed limit and to remain cautious during low light periods (dusk and dawn), at night, and during foggy or stormy conditions.
We thank drivers for staying safe and working with our staff to protect and preserve our environment and these vulnerable animals.
A/Partnering, Engagement and Communications Officer
Western Newfoundland and Labrador Field Unit