Species Composition and Temporal Patterns of Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions in Southwest Virginia, USA
Mitigating wildlife–vehicle collisions (WVCs) is becoming a major wildlife conservation focus, particularly in areas characterized by increased anthropogenic development. Concomitantly, wildlife managers and transportation planners need better information regarding spatiotemporal patterns of WVCs to develop measures that mitigate negative impacts on wildlife. To address this need, in 2015 we conducted a yearlong WVC study in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, USA to determine the species composition of WVCs across mammals, birds, and herpetofauna. In addition, we compared patterns of WVC road mortalities across 2 adjacent routes with different vehicle traffic volumes and evaluated the relationships between temporal variations in WVC frequency and seasonal activity of focal taxa. The mean weekly WVC mortality rate across all species (n = 65) was 13.8 ± 1.73 per 100 km. The WVC mortalities were not evenly distributed across routes, with overall differences driven primarily by the relative abundance of meso-mammals. Temporal WVC rates differed for woodchucks (Marmota monax), eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina), and eastern ratsnakes (Pantherophis alleghaniensis), with contrasting peaks in frequency for passerine birds and birds of prey. Because of the substantial differences we observed in WVC mortality rates relative to traffic volumes and seasonal activity patterns of the taxa studied, any WVC mitigation strategies implemented will need to be site-specific.
Vance, James A.; Smith, Walter H.; and Smith, Gabrielle L.
"Species Composition and Temporal Patterns of Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions in Southwest Virginia, USA,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 12:
3, Article 12.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol12/iss3/12