A drive to curb roadkill
Blame it on the crows.
Shortly after Jeff Polo of Destination Mazda had a meeting with Anita Cymet, the development coordinator at the Wildlife Rescue Association, to discuss a possible partnership, a crow crashed into the window of a nearby building and flopped to the roadway. Nobody on Polo’s staff knew what to do or who to call to help the injured bird.
The crow was quickly surrounded by other members of its murder—as a flock of crows are called—forming a bit of a protective buffer that forced cars to veer away, and buying time for the stunned bird to regain its senses and hop to safety.
“It’s like somebody said ‘hey, you should do this,’” says Polo. “It was really neat.”
Since September every car sold by Destination Mazda has included an information pamphlet about the WRA, and what to do when encountering injured wildlife, in its documentation.
Sales staff have been trained to discuss the pamphlet with customers and, once a month, representatives from the WRA are at the dealership to answer questions.
It’s all about building awareness for the organization that treats close to 4,000 injured animals a year, says Cymet. About 20 per cent of those are hurt in collisions with vehicles.
Which is why she started approaching car dealerships.
It wasn’t an easy sell, says Cymet. Almost 100 turned her down. But thanks to that sacrificial crow, Polo called her back.
It was, he says, a good fit for his company’s philanthropic programs as well as the image of Mazda cars, which are marketed as fun to drive.
“We had a good feeling about it,” says Polo, who concedes the proximity of parks and forests in Burnaby is bound to lead to encounters between cars and creatures.
“You see them on the road in front of you and you don’t always know what to do.”
Cymet is hopeful the relationship with Destination Mazda will help sensitize drivers to the possibility of encountering wildlife in their travels, and the harm their driving can cause to animals.
“People don’t intend to injure animals with their cars,” she says. “I look at this as the beginning of a solution.”