Repel railway elk with human waste: researcher

Human excrement could be just the ticket to keep errant elk from unwittingly ending their lives on Norway’s rail tracks, a researcher has said.

Repel railway elk with human waste: researcher
Photo: Gorm Kallestad/Scanpix

With train drivers exasperated at running over so many of the helpless beasts, the National Rail Administration (Jernbaneverket) is looking at ways to slash the number of animal collisions on the country’s rail network.

Noting that elk dislike human scents, a lecturer at Hedmark University College has put forward a pungent solution.

“Open the toilet tanks on the stretches most frequented by elk and let human urine and excrement scare the elk away,” he told newspaper Østlendingen.

From 2000 to 2009, a 20-kilometre stretch between Koppang and Reda saw the railroad deaths of 288 elk, or moose as the animals are known in North America.

In the same period, 123 elk perished on a 10-kilomtre stretch between Rena and Opphus.

In all, nine of the 14 most treacherous stretches for elk were located in Hedmark county, eastern Norway.

“We know where most elk are run over. Sprinkling the rails with urine and faeces when the trains pass would not be particularly difficult to implement,” said Storaas.

The great debate: Elk or Moose?

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Norwegian road authority in hot water for dumping rocks near UNESCO-listed fjord

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration will need to clear up more than 1,000 trucks worth of stones and rubble it left near the stunning UNESCO world heritage listed Nærøyfjord.

Norwegian road authority in hot water for dumping rocks near UNESCO-listed fjord
Nærøyfjorden near to where the Norwegian Public Roads Administration left behind more than 11,000 cubic metres of rocks. Photo by Arian Zwegers on Flickr.

Fly-tipping and rubbish dumping are typically associated with rogue tradespeople and cowboy builders, but it’s the Norwegian Public Roads Administration that is being asked to clear some 11,250 cubic metres of rocks it left near a UNESCO listed beauty spot.

The breathtaking Nærøyfjord in Aurland municipality, south-western Norway, is a landscape conservation area meaning its protected and, therefore, the rubble shouldn’t have been left there.

“This is a blister. We will clean up after ourselves,” Stig Berg Thomassen, project manager for the road authority, told NRK.

The rocks were left behind following a project to upgrade the nearby Gudvanga tunnel.

Thomassen said the mess was left in the conservation area because it wasn’t clearly marked as off-limits.

Nærøyfjorden has been listed as a landscape conservation area since 2002, and the site was added to the UNESCO world heritage list a few years later in 2005.

READ ALSO: You can now get married at this famous Norwegian beauty spot

The municipality in Aurland has given the road authority until December 17th to clear the mess. The mayor for the municipality said the road authority would begin to clear up the remnants of its building project as soon as possible.

The stones won’t be going far, though and will only be moved around 50 to 100 metres along the road to where the conservation area ends.

Project manager Thomassen has admitted that the situation could have been avoided with better planning.

“Yes, we should have probably have done that (prepared better). The situation is as it is, so we just have to clean up. It won’t take long to move the rocks. The Stones will only be transported 50 to 100 meters,” he confessed.