The impact of RS–040 highway on wildlife roadkill patterns, Porto Alegre, Southern Brazil

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Authors

  • Gabrielle Zanettini Tres Centro de Estudos em Manejo de Aves Silvestres – CEMAS, Faculdade de Veterinária, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul – UFRGS. Avenida Bento Gonçalves, 9090, Porto Alegre RS 91540-000, Brazil.
  • Tiago Dominguez Pacheco Centro de Estudos em Manejo de Aves Silvestres – CEMAS, Faculdade de Veterinária, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul – UFRGS. Avenida Bento Gonçalves, 9090, Porto Alegre RS 91540-000, Brazil.
  • Vitor Gabriel Cardozo Silva Centro de Estudos em Manejo de Aves Silvestres – CEMAS, Faculdade de Veterinária, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul – UFRGS. Avenida Bento Gonçalves, 9090, Porto Alegre RS 91540-000, Brazil.
  • Paulo Guilherme Carniel Wagner Centro de Triagem de Animais Silvestres – CETAS/RS, Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis – IBAMA, Rua Baronesa do Gravataí, 210, Porto Alegre RS 90160-070, Brazil.
  • Walter Nisa-Castro-Neto Organização para a Pesquisa e a Conservação de Esqualus no Brasil – PRÓ-SQUALUS. Rua General Osório, 500/601, Praia Grande, Torres RS 95560-000, Brazil.
  • Cláudio Estêvão Farias Cruz Centro de Estudos em Manejo de Aves Silvestres – CEMAS, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul – UFRGS, Avenida Bento Gonçalves, 9090, 91.540-000, Porto Alegre, RS.

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.15451/ec2024-01-13.01-1-16

Keywords:

biodiversity loss, decreasing abundance, Vehicle collision, wildlife conservation, wildlife management, animal deaths

Abstract

Road infrastructure has caused severe impacts on the environment and wildlife. Understanding and mitigating these effects are essential conservation measures.   This study aimed to evaluate wildlife mortality due to animal-vehicle collisions along an 80-km stretch of the Tapir Rocha Highway (RS–040). The field inventory was carried out between August 2015 and March 2019. Once a week, two observers drove along the highway at an average speed of 40 km/h and all the vertebrate roadkill spotted from the car were assessed to record the species, carcass condition, and the roadkill locations along the road. In total, 2,371 dead animals were recorded and categorized into 137 species. The most affected classes were mammals (n = 1,223), and birds (n = 704). The most affected wild species were white-eared opossums (Didelphis albiventris, n = 559), black-and-white tegus (Salvator merianae, n = 129), and coypus (Myocastor coypus, n = 102). Carcass exposure assessments indicated that many (n = 637) of the animal deaths occurred the night before our arrival, which may suggest that nocturnal species were among the most vulnerable to mortality. Roadkill sighting peaked in the spring (34%) and summer (25%), probably due to reproductive activity and juvenile dispersal. Evident seasonal variations included a 50% reduction in reptile roadkill rates in autumn-winter compared to spring-summer, and a 20-percentage-point increase in the number of mammal road deaths in the winter. The reduced activity that reptiles display at low temperatures, and seasonal changes in carnivore food habits may explain these respective findings. While most of the animal victims of roadkill were common and widely distributed species with abundant populations, decreasing abundance of these species is a growing conservation concern.

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01/03/2024

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Zanettini Tres, G. ., Dominguez Pacheco, T., Cardozo Silva, V. G., Carniel Wagner, P. G. ., Nisa-Castro-Neto, W., & Farias Cruz, C. E. (2024). The impact of RS–040 highway on wildlife roadkill patterns, Porto Alegre, Southern Brazil. Ethnobiology and Conservation, 13. https://doi.org/10.15451/ec2024-01-13.01-1-16

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