Context Anthropogenic structures have considerable effects on ecosystems, disrupting natural population processes and representing a serious risk in terms of vehicle collisions. The golden jackal (Canis aureus) is a mesocarnivore species whose range is expanding in Europe. Roadkills are one of the main human-induced mortalities in Italy to the species. Objectives Identify road-related characteristics and ecological factors related to golden jackal roadkill risk in Italy. Methods We used habitat suitability (Maxent) and connectivity (Circuit theory) models to derive 15 metrics potentially affecting roadkill risk. We tested their influence using Bayesian generalized linear models and generalized linear models comparing golden jackal roadkill locations to random locations. Furthermore, we tested if there were significant sex, age-related and seasonal differences among roadkilled individuals. Results We found that roadkill risk was higher in areas characterized by higher values of habitat suitability and connectivity, habitat fragmentation and along highways. It was lower with increasing distance to the source population and in the presence of guardrails. No significant differences were detected in terms of roadkill risk between sexes, age classes and season. Conclusions The identified factors affecting road mortality of golden jackals in Italy provide insights on how to mitigate wildlife-vehicle collisions. Crossing areas, and visual and acoustic warnings for wildlife, as well as the importance of managing fences along high traffic volume roads could help mitigate further damage. Finally, there is a need to further investigate the effectiveness of mitigation measures in the light of the golden jackal’s ongoing expansion in a human-modified landscape.

Stay home, stay safe? High habitat suitability and environmental connectivity increases road mortality in a colonizing mesocarnivore

Lorenzo Frangini
Primo
;
Marcello Franchini;Stefano Pesaro;Stefano Filacorda
Ultimo
2022

Abstract

Context Anthropogenic structures have considerable effects on ecosystems, disrupting natural population processes and representing a serious risk in terms of vehicle collisions. The golden jackal (Canis aureus) is a mesocarnivore species whose range is expanding in Europe. Roadkills are one of the main human-induced mortalities in Italy to the species. Objectives Identify road-related characteristics and ecological factors related to golden jackal roadkill risk in Italy. Methods We used habitat suitability (Maxent) and connectivity (Circuit theory) models to derive 15 metrics potentially affecting roadkill risk. We tested their influence using Bayesian generalized linear models and generalized linear models comparing golden jackal roadkill locations to random locations. Furthermore, we tested if there were significant sex, age-related and seasonal differences among roadkilled individuals. Results We found that roadkill risk was higher in areas characterized by higher values of habitat suitability and connectivity, habitat fragmentation and along highways. It was lower with increasing distance to the source population and in the presence of guardrails. No significant differences were detected in terms of roadkill risk between sexes, age classes and season. Conclusions The identified factors affecting road mortality of golden jackals in Italy provide insights on how to mitigate wildlife-vehicle collisions. Crossing areas, and visual and acoustic warnings for wildlife, as well as the importance of managing fences along high traffic volume roads could help mitigate further damage. Finally, there is a need to further investigate the effectiveness of mitigation measures in the light of the golden jackal’s ongoing expansion in a human-modified landscape.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11390/1229864
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