Oil sands operator Cenovus uses critter cams to help guide environmental policies

Oil and gas companies take a lot of flak for their impact on the environment.

And, not just for their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, but for what all that energy extraction and industrial development means for the wildlife in the regions they operate.

Canadian oilsands giant Cenovus Energy Inc. has been trying to get a handle on exactly what is happening around its operations, particularly in northern Alberta. It has placed 163 cameras along its pipelines, access roads and seismic lines to snap images of critters living in its region between 2010 and 2015.

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“We’ve been keeping a close eye on wildlife around our oil sands operations with remote cameras in northern Alberta for more than six years, improving our understanding of how animals interact with our facilities and resulting in improvements at our sites to help us minimize our impact,” Cenovus recently posted on its website.

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Between 2010 and the end of 2015, its remote cameras have snapped 28 different animal species ranging from bears and wolverines to deer and caribou as well as lynx, wolves and coyotes.

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The company’s senior environmental advisor, Liz Swift, said the company is now looking at the photos to figure out what it could “to improve our environmental performance.”

For animal lovers it’s fascinating to see how critters interact with their natural — and manmade — landscapes.

Photos Cenovus/YouTube

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