Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Of moose and men

Study finds removal of roadside salt pools can protect salt-toothed moose from crossing roads

Country roadways can be hazardous for moose and men. According to estimates, millions of vehicles collide with moose, elk and caribou in North America and Europe each year. Moose, in particular, venture to roadsides to lick the salt pools that collect following pavement deicing.

Because moose are the largest animal in the deer family, with males weighing up to 720 kilograms, their salt cravings can pose significant risks to human and vehicle safety. That's why a group of Canadian researchers has investigated ways to encourage moose away from roads.

In a new study, published in the journal Ecological Modelling, lead author Paul D. Grosman reports how the large mammals can adeptly recall the salt pools they visit in previous years. "When the scheduled time came to go to a salt pool, moose moved directly to it with purpose," says Grosman, a graduate student in the Concordia University Department of Geography, Planning and Environment. "Sodium concentration is two or three times higher in roadside salt pools compared to aquatic plants, yet those salt pools increase the probability of moose-vehicle collisions by 80 percent."

To avoid moose-man collisions, the best scenario is to completely remove roadside salt pools, Grosman stresses: "If compensation salt pools are used, they should be located as far as possible from the roads – beyond 500 meters."

Grosman conducted his investigation with Concordia professors Jochen A.G. Jaeger and Pascale M. Biron, as well as colleagues from the Université du Québec à Rimouski and the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec (Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife). The research team focused on a portion of the Laurentides Wildlife Reserve, situated between Quebec City and Saguenay, which features two provincial highways crossing its territory.

Some 47 tagged moose were monitored for three years via global positioning system as they travelled, rested and foraged. A computer-animated control group of 40 moose served as a point of comparison.

The research team tested various scenarios, such as removing salt pools altogether or creating compensation salt pools. Although moose could travel as much as 10 kilometers to drink from salt pools, their road crossings could be reduced by as much as 79 per cent when all road-side salt pools were removed.

"The most effective management strategy is to remove all salt pools, without creating any compensatory ones, and let moose return to foraging for aquatic plants to satisfy their sodium dietary requirement," says Grosman, noting that other costlier security measures include fencing highways or building wildlife underpasses.

From May 24 to May 27, 2011, Jaeger and Grosman will take part in a French language conference on large and small fauna, in Quebec City: "Routes et faune terrestre: De la science aux solutions." For more information, please consult the conference website at

Partners in research:

This study was funded by the Ministère des Transports du Québec, the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec, the Université du Québec à Rimouski, the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the J.W. McConnell Graduate Memorial Fellowship.

About the study:

The paper, Trade-off between road avoidance and attraction by roadside salt pools in moose: An agent-based model to assess measures for reducing moose-vehicle collisions," published in the journal Ecological Modelling, was coauthored by Paul D. Grosman, Jochen A.G. Jaeger and Pascale M. Biron of Concordia University, Christian Dussault of the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec and Jean-Pierre Ouellet of the Université du Québec à Rimouski.

Related links:

Cited research:
Concordia Department of Geography, Planning and Environment:
Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec:

Université du Québec à Rimouski :

Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
Senior advisor, external communications
Concordia University
Phone: 514-848-2424, ext. 5068
Concordia news:

Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>