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Canadian Pacific addressing animal deaths

The number of wildlife kills on Canadian Pacific property is expected to drop this summer, thanks to measures taken by the railway to reduce the amount of grain spilling from its cars.

Attracted by grain left on the ground by passing trains, animals struck and killed by railway traffic has become a common occurrence across the company's network.

Last year, Canadian Pacific launched a five-year initiative to replace unloading doors on their entire fleet of grain hopper cars — a plan already 25 per cent complete, said company spokesperson Breanne Feigel.

While the program will serve to reduce trackside animal fatalities, Feigel said stopping the spillage will also increase quality control and the integrity of the shipped product.

During the next phase of the initiative, Canadian Pacific plans to clean exterior end sills of nearly 3,000 grain cars to remove excess seeds left from the loading process. They will also also launch an educational program for shippers, suppliers and customers about the importance of cleaning grain cars prior to their return to the network.

Initially spearheaded due to wildlife fatalities in Banff National Park, the program was expanded across the entire railway.

Canadian Pacific hopes a new tariff program will encourage shippers to comply with the new program — shippers who comply will enjoy incentives, while those that don't may be fined. This program is expected to come into force early next month.

Jenice Smith of the Crowsnest Conservation Society said she is pleased with the news.

"This is an excellent step forward in reducing the amount of animal attractants left on the tracks," she said.

"This will certainly result in a reduction of wildlife mortality."

CPR is spending $125,000 to implement the program.

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