Factors that Influence the Risk of Carnivore Road Mortality in Central Alabama

Road mortality has been implicated as the most important transportation-related influence on wildlife populations; however, little is known about road mortality of carnivores in the pine-dominated landscapes of the Southeastern United States. We examined the influence of distance to vegetative cover, speed limit, distance to water, and distance to urban center on risk of road mortality to carnivores in central Alabama. We repeatedly drove an established route of six roads to search for road-killed carnivores during the first half of 2014 and used logistic regression to compare attributes of road-kill sites (n = 99) to an equal number of randomly selected sites. We found that for each 10-m decrease in distance to vegetative cover, a site was 1.21 (CL = 1.19-1.23) times as likely to be a road-kill site (P = 0.044). Our results suggest that transportation managers can positively affect carnivore mortality on roads by increasing the distance from road to cover.

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