Oregon Zoo, ODFW Asks Public to Map Roadkill

PORTLAND, OR — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is working with the Oregon Zoo to collect traffic fatality data from across the state and create a map of incidents.

The Oregon Zoo is typically more concerned about live animals, but Conservation Manager Shervin Hess says they have a vested interest in reducing the number of traffic fatalities in the state: “Some of the animals in our zoo came to us as rescues after they were killed by cars.” Hess adds, It is pathetic. It is dirty. Nobody wants to see roadkill, right? This is not the way we want to see wildlife. And this is a rare opportunity to actually do something about it.”

Officials are asking the public to help track down traffic fatalities, where they are seen and which animals are involved. “Oregon has the highest rate of wildlife collisions on the entire West Coast, so it’s deadly for both people and wildlife,” Hess said.

They want to know more about every species, from butterflies to bears: “You see a lot of squirrels. Butterflies? You probably don’t see them when you’re driving, but a cyclist might. That’s why we’re trying to get the word out to everyone.” And he notes: The place where a squirrel finds it difficult to cross the road is also very difficult for a bear to cross.”

To participate, create a free account in the iNaturalist mobile app. There’s a project there called Roadkills of Oregon,” Hess says. “If you see an animal that’s been hit, you see roadkill, and it’s safe to stop and take a picture, so you do. You upload it to this network and that data goes directly to ODF&W.”

The goal is to identify where, when and how animals are most often hit by vehicles and to map those hotspots. “Crosswalks and underpasses work. They’re super effective. But they’re also expensive. So we need to know where these things are happening in order to prioritize where to put these types of intersection structures.”

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