What is Wildlife on Roads?
Roads are common features in Ontario’s landscapes and there is no point more than 1.5 km from a road.
Road mortality has been identified as a threat for many of Ontario’s amphibians, turtles and snakes but not a lot is known about our smaller mammals and birds that are killed on roads.
Wildlife on Roads is meant to empower communities and individuals (citizen scientists) to document where and when wildlife are found on roads. These scientists can assist alive animals to cross roads safely, teach and educate communities and road managers and help ecologists devise effective mitigation solutions.
Gathering Data To Develop Solutions
Solutions such as wildlife crossing structures and fencing are effective at reducing road-kill and landscape fragmentation (www.eco-kare.com).
However, we require precise data to inform where and what animals are being road-killed, because measures are both site- and species-specific. Mainstream data sources collected by road agencies exist, but are primarily comprised of large mammals because these animals pose a safety hazard to motorists.
To fill in data gaps, more attention is being drawn to inform and educate citizen scientists to collect data for smaller animals found on roads that are injured, dead or alive.
How Can You Help?
Join our iNaturalist project to be able to submit georeferenced photos of wildlife on roads (see video on right for overview).
Become a Road Worrior
We have also developed a Road WORRIOR program where you can learn to collect data in a series of on-line and in-person workshops (see overview video below)
Kari Gunson, a practitioner in road ecology since 1999, initiated the ‘Wildlife on Roads’ program after finishing the Handbook Wildlife on Roads with Dr. Fred Schueler and his wife Aleta Karstad. We hope to inspire and empower grassroots efforts in road ecology.
Dr. Fred Schueler has been recording road-kill since the 1960s, and has amassed a database that now contains about 25,000 road data records. At home in Bishops Mills, Ontario, he daily records vertebrate and invertebrate casualties along 246 meters of the village streets.