Officials at Wind Cave National Park in the Black Hills say an alarming number of bison are dying lately due to being hit by motorists. They say on average the park sees about three deaths of this type per year. So far in 2013 there have already been fourteen deaths – six just since October.
Park Spokesperson Tom Farrell says bison are drawn to the salt on the roads left behind by vehicles. He says although many bison weigh more than two-thousand pounds they can be difficult to see.
“You just have to reduce your speed. The speed limit’s already low at forty-five miles an hour but at night it’s very easy to out-drive your headlights and really not be able to see in time to be able to stop. And so the key is speed and the key is being aware of what’s going on. You know if it’s a snowy dark night you definitely don’t even want to be driving the speed limit because sometimes just driving the speed limit is too fast,” says Farrell.
Farrell says motorists should also keep an eye out for elk herds. He says Wind Cave officials take the animal deaths seriously and if drivers are found to be negligent they will be responsible for restitution.