TRACKING MOOSE- AND DEER-VEHICLE COLLISIONS USING GPS AND LANDMARK INVENTORY SYSTEMS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

Caleb Sample, Roy V. Rea, Gayle Hesse

Abstract


Vehicle collisions with moose (Alces alces) and deer (Odocoileus spp.) pose a serious threat to all motorists travelling highways traversing habitats of these two ungulates. In British Columbia, mitigation measures to reduce such collisions are based on spatially-accurate records of collisions involving moose and deer that are collected by the province’s highway maintenance contractors. To date, the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (BC MOTI) uses the paper-based Wildlife Accident Reporting System (WARS) established in 1978 to maintain carcass records. We compared carcass location data collected in 2010 to 2014 by BC MOTI using WARS to that collected by Northern Health Connections bus drivers using a newly developed GPS-based system (Otto® Wildlife device). In total, 6,929 carcasses (1,231 moose, 5,698 deer) were recorded using WARS and 474 (167 moose, 410 deer) using the Otto® Wildlife device. We compared data collected along 2,800 km on the same highways in the same seasons of the same years. We found more carcass locations were identified with the WARS method, but that in certain geographic regions, the Otto® Wildlife system identified several unique locations. We contend that more complete and finer-scale carcass location data is possible using a GPS-based system such as Otto® Wildlife, than currently collected solely with the paper-based WARS method.


Keywords


Alces; automobile; car; collision; deer; GPS; moose; Odocoileus; record; roadkill

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