The researchers found that badgers, foxes and pheasants benefited most from reduced traffic during lockdowns in the UK. The results are displayed in Journal of Animal Ecology.
Scientists have used the UK-wide lockdowns as a unique opportunity to observe wildlife in the absence of traffic. Their findings highlight the characteristics and traits that make iconic British species – such as badgers and pheasants – more likely to be involved in collisions with vehicles.
Researchers at The Road Lab, based at Cardiff University, used road kill registry data to assess the 19 wildlife species most frequently involved in vehicle collisions, to see what changes in road fatalities are seen during two major lockdown periods (March-May 2020 and December 2020)-March 2021).
By comparing closing rates with the same time periods in previous years (2014-2019), they were able to identify the traits that put the species at greater risk of becoming road havoc.
Sarah Raymond, a research student in Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences, who led the research, said: “During lockdowns, we found that there were fewer records of nocturnal mammals, animals visiting urban environments, mammals with greater brain mass and birds embarking on longer journeys distances. “.
“Species that have many of these traits – such as badgers, foxes and pheasants – are more likely to be hit by cars and have the highest mortality rate in normal traffic levels. So these species seem to have benefited the most from the lockdowns, and so they suffer the most during the times.” “normal”.
The researchers discovered that among all types, there were 80% fewer road vehicle collisions during lockdowns, which they say is not surprising given the significant drop in traffic. Data collected during this unique situation can help inform wildlife conservation in landscapes dominated by the route.
Sarah added: “The UK is a country with 398,359km of roads and 39.2 million car owners.” “This study took the unique opportunity to find out what happens when this road-dominated landscape becomes silent. Not only is the impact these vehicles have on our beloved British wildlife species, but the risk is trait dependent.”
Researchers say understanding what makes some species more vulnerable to roadblocks could help guide conservation efforts and ultimately protect British wildlife.
Sarah Raymond et al, Impact of COVID -19 lockdowns on vehicular collisions among wildlife in the UK, Journal of Animal Ecology (2023). DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.13913
the quote: Study: Lockdowns reveal British wildlife most at risk of becoming lethal on roads (2023, 21 April) Retrieved 21 April 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-04-lockdowns-revealed-british -wildlife-roadkill.html
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