Trapping Conservation and Self-Reliance News

Possum Roadkill in Virginia. Research Paper.
Mar 22, 2023 06:50 ET

Original Title: Preliminary Analysis of Landscape Associations for Virginia Opossum Roadkills

Methods for mitigating wildlife-vehicle collisions are important for the health of local wildlife populations and for driver safety. A variety of spatial, temporal, and biological factors are known to influence these collisions, and the combination of these factors varies for any given road. Therefore, understanding the spatial distribution of roadkill on the local landscape scale is required for effective mitigation planning. Furthermore, the distribution of roadkill on a local scale aids in our understanding of species’ ranges and the environmental factors associated with habitat use. A total of 620 Virginia Opossums (Didelphis virginiana) roadkills were recorded during a 10-year period along a 12.2 mile section of Highway 212 in Baldwin County, Ga. Previous comparisons of driving and walking surveys suggest that this is a conservative estimate of the true number of road-killed Opossums. The current study documents the spatial distribution of opossum roadkill from 2012 to 2022. A running average was calculated using 0.3-mile segments, and the location of resulting peaks were assessed in relation to roadway features and roadside habitats that may influence opossum roadkill occurrences. Although roadkill hotspots are more confidently identified using spatial clustering analysis, a running average provides a simple and effective method to conduct a preliminary analysis of the spatial distribution of roadkill and for identifying factors of interest associated with a specific road. Preliminary analysis suggests the majority of opossum roadkills were associated with lowland riparian habitat and hills and curves.

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