The transportation networks within and adjacent to protected areas degrade natural habitats and contribute to a higher risk of mortality through roadkill. Following years of unplanned and unsustainable road network development in Iran, the protected areas of significant biodiversity value have suffered from such phenomenon. Yazd Province, one of Iran’s important biodiversity reservoirs for large mammals, especially the Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus), has witnessed a noticeable rate of road expansion along with an associated anthropogenic development. A large percentage (7 out of 50–70) of Asiatic cheetahs has been lost due to vehicle collisions in the region over the last decade. In this study, we employed a well-known spatially-explicit algorithm for density-based calculation of collision locations, adopting kernel density estimation method. We evaluated the location of 31 wildlife–vehicle collisions (WVCs) from 2007 to 2011, including 12 Persian gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa), 6 Asiatic cheetah, 5 striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), 5 golden jackal (Canis aureus), 2 caracal (Caracal caracal), and 1 gray wolf (Canis lupus). Our results detected 4 hotspots of vehicle collisions in the Kalmand-Bahadoran Protected Area. The findings of this study could be employed to protect the populations of the Asiatic cheetah and other threatened species in this area. Potential mitigation strategies proposed include: wildlife warning sign usage, increasing public awareness, traffic devices to reduce vehicle speed in dangerous areas, utilization of warning lights for drivers, and improved crossing structures.
Mohammadi, Alireza and Kaboli, Mohammad
"Evaluating Wildlife–Vehicle Collision Hotspots Using Kernel-Based Estimation: a Focus on the Endangered Asiatic Cheetah in Central Iran,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 10
, Article 13.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol10/iss1/13