Driving down roads can provide good opportunities to see wildlife. Unfortunately, these sightings sometimes occur as roadkill.
Some species may be attracted to roads to feed, bask, or nest, which puts animals, especially slow-moving animals such as turtles and snakes, at risk of a collision. The Priority Place is home to many Species at Risk whose populations are decreasing as a result of these collisions.
No single agency is able to monitor the vast road network found in Norfolk County, and this is where the public can play an important part by reporting wildlife or wildlife-vehicle collisions.
“When the public reports wildlife/road interaction sightings (alive or dead), these data can be used to inform and prioritize mitigation strategies that improve the landscape for safe transportation and wildlife protection,” says Mandy Karch.
“Concerned residents are dedicated to resolving road ecology issues and help protect local wildlife populations by reporting observed wildlife/road interactions. Surveying a road or simply reporting an opportunistic sighting all contributes important data that helps prioritize and inform the mitigation process and responsible spending of mitigation dollars. This form of data collection is called Citizen Science,” explains Karch. “Citizen Science is volunteer-based ecological monitoring that plays a key role in successful conservation initiatives.”
Citizen science is a great way for the community to be a part of conservation actions and help shape the landscape for safe wildlife movement.
The best way the public can help is to report your sightings to iNaturalist, a nation-wide citizen science wildlife reporting platform, to the Wildlife on Roads in Ontario project at https://inaturalist.ca/projects/wildlife-on-roads-in-ontario.
If you’re interested in doing more as a citizen scientist in Ontario’s Priority Place, please contact project partner Kari at Eco-Kare International. Email: email@example.com; call or text 705-933-8430.
Norfolk County resident John Everett safely helping a turtle cross the road near Big Creek marsh.