PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Monday, September 29, 2014

Animal Rescue Team: Watch Out For Wildlife Week

Motorists Are Urged to Take Six Special Precautions on
Wildlife-Dense Roads and Highways

SOLVANG, CA – As the drought is drawing wildlife in search of food and water from remote areas to urban roads and highways, The Animal Rescue Team, Inc. (ART) is encouraging motorists to participate in California’s statewide “Watch Out for Wildlife” week by taking the following special precautions while driving:

1. Be alert when driving in wildlife areas, such as Highways 154 and 246. Scan both sides of the road for animals, watch for wildlife signs, and never drive distracted.

2. Slow down and increase the distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. Reducing your speed will increase your response time to avoid colliding and killing a crossing animal.

3. Limit driving in wildlife areas at night. More than 90 percent of wildlife collisions occur at night. During dusk and dawn, wildlife activity is highest, and driver’s visibility is lowest. When you do travel at night, watch for animals’ reflective eyes, keep your dashboard lights on low, turn off your vehicle’s internal lights.

4. Keep up with regular auto maintenance. Inspect your brakes, make sure your windshield is clean, and keep your dashboard clear of any objects which may interfere with your visibility of the road.

5. Think like an animal, and be familiar with wildlife behavior. Many wildlife species travel in groups or herds. When you see one wildlife animal, watch for others.

6. Don’t litter. Wildlife is attracted to the smell and will flock to roads and highways.

According to the California Highway Patrol, more than 1,800 wildlife were hit by vehicles in 2010 when the most recent report was available, and according to CalTrans, approximately $1 billion in property damage is caused by these collisions.

Although deer and mountain lions are typically the largest of the wildlife victims of poor motorist behavior, a young bear was struck and killed last Tuesday evening, September 16, by a Toyota 4Runner on Highway 154.

“This tragedy could have been avoided by taking a few simple driving precautions to watch out for wildlife,” said ART Executive Director Julia Di Sieno. “Not only can watching out for wildlife save our wildlife from injury and death, but it could save your life and property as well.”

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