, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 661-668
Date: 10 Feb 2012

Temporal pattern of wild ungulate-related traffic accidents in northwest Spain

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Abstract

Wildlife-related accidents are a serious problem in different countries and describing their temporal pattern allows for the development of measures to mitigate them. We described the temporal pattern of wild ungulate-related accidents occurring between January 2006 and December 2010 in the Autonomous Region of Galicia, northwest of Spain. We examined the temporal distribution of the accidents according to months, phenological and hunting seasons, days of the week and time of the day. From the 6,255 wild ungulate-related traffic accidents analysed, 36.5% were related to roe deer Capreolus capreolus and 62.8% were related to wild boar Sus scrofa. The monthly distribution of accidents was not random but follows a characteristic pattern for each species. Roe deer-related accidents have their maximum in April and May, coinciding with the breeding season, followed by July, coinciding with the rut. Wild boar-related accidents have their maximum between October and January, coinciding with the hunting season but also with months with the longest nights. Both roe deer- and wild boar-related accidents showed an increase at weekends, specially on Sundays. During the hunting season, the wild boar-related accidents showed a marked peak on the same day. This weekly pattern was explained by drivers’ behaviour and by hunting. For roe deer, peaks of accidents occurred between 19:00 and 22:00 (about dusk) and between 05:00 and 08:00 (about dawn). For wild boar, 69% of accidents occurred between 18:00 and 23:00, coinciding with dusk and night. This daily pattern of accidents was explained by the behaviour of the species.

Communicated by C. Gortázar