E Wildlife Watch Maritimes is a new citizen science-based and public education program of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation, Atlantic Chapter. The program will involve volunteers (scientists, students, wildlife rescue responders and others) in collecting real time data of wildlife-vehicle collision observations and wildlife movements near and on roads on their smart phones into a central website database. The animal data collected will not be restricted to large animals, but will accommodate the collection of any animals killed or travelling on roads.
Habitat fragmentation by roads is a severe impact for many animal species, particularly for those with high mobility or seasonal migration behaviour, such as mammals or amphibians. As a consequence, roadkill is one of the main reasons for the decrease of populations of several animal groups. In Austria, official data of roadkills are only available for huntable wildlife. In the year 2012, amongst others 24852 European hare, 36865 Roe deer, 1414 European badger were killed on roads.
Although the transport industry (road, rail, air, marine) is massive, it is still developing rapidly in South Africa in accordance with the country’s National Development Plan. The transport industry caters for both commercial and passenger vehicles. Despite recognition of transport infrastructure being a threat to biodiversity, such infrastructure developments are required for economic growth. Current developments are conducted with little or no thought given to protecting biodiversity.
This program began in 2010 and is supported by hundreds of volunteers who collect observaitons of live and dea widlife along the state's roads and highways. The data is used to inform discussion with the state's Department of Transportation about reducing impacts to wildlife from roads and traffic.
Road kill may be a significant cause of mortality for some animals. In certain species (e.g. the Otter) the loss of only a handful of individuals is likely to have a significant impact on local population dynamics. We are especially interested in learning whether particular species are prone to this type of mortality and also whether road kills show seasonal or geographic patterns.