Norway is trying out a new way of deterring elks from wandering on to busy roads after a number of traffic incidents involving the deer.
Officials have come up with a system to place poles – referred to by the public as ‘disco poles’ – at each 50-metre interval along certain busy roads. The poles have been given the nickname because when vehicles approach them, sensors are triggered, causing them to flash LED lights and emit a loud sound into the forest.
Thousands of elk are killed on Norwegian roads each year and insurance companies have worked out that, when broken down to an average, each collision costs 150,000 Norwegian kroner (€18,500).
The hope is that the new measures will scare the elk away and prevent them from causing collisions on the roads. The first set of disco poles will be tested on fire roads, with two in Troms and two in Nordland, to see if they are successful.
If the trial run proves a success, authorities hope to install the poles on all roads where elk collisions occur, according to Norway’s Public Roads Administration’s Henrik Wildenschild, who noted that the poles are considerably cheaper than game fences. He added that they previously tried motion sensors and thermal imaging cameras to warn motorists, but they did not work.