Every day in NSW, collisions between motor vehicles and animals occur, resulting in considerable vehicle repair costs, injury to people and loss of animal life. The vast nature of the landscape with its broad expanse of roads means that drivers often come into contact with native wildlife, with the majority of serious collisions occurring in rural areas. Research has shown that road kill can potentially disrupt the population processes of wildlife in a number of fundamental ways. First, overall population sizes may be reduced, or population dynamics impaired, when habitat is removed to make way for roads. Second, road kill may lead to decreases in the local population size of a species. Third, roads may act as a filter or barrier to animal movement, affecting the way in which animals use their home-range and their migration patterns. Disruptions to migration may result in changes to social structure and reduced reproduction rates.
Research on large mammal road kills has shown that collisions do not occur randomly, but in clusters of road kill incidents or ‘hotspots’. This allows managers to identify where these hotspots occur and what factors contribute to the high number of fatalities in these areas. Once a hotspot has been identified, we can target these roads for implementing mitigation strategies and assessing the impact of roads on local wildlife.
We need our Citizen Scientists to use our smart phone app to collect data on road kills. This will provide a rigorous understanding of hotspot locations. When this information is combined with data about wildlife population density, it will allow the relationship between density of animals and road kill incidents to be better understood. We need ongoing collection of data to understand variation in patterns of collisions that may result from longer term factors affecting an animal’s behaviour (e.g. seasonal conditions and breeding patterns, or environmental patterns such as drought).
You can participate in this project by becoming a Citizen Scientist. The first step in becoming an NPA Citizen Scientist is to register your details on our Data Portal. You will then receive email updates from us letting you know when our Citizen Science smart phone app is available, giving more information about this project and alerting you to other NPA Citizen Science projects you can take part in.
Register now on our Citizen Science data portal.