European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 709–714 | Cite as

Mortality of vertebrates on a road crossing the Biebrza Valley (NE Poland)

Original Paper

Abstract

Mortality of vertebrates was monitored on a local road running across Poland’s Biebrza River Valley during 2 years (August 2005–July 2006). On the basis of distance from the river and surrounding habitats, the road (of total length 2,510 m) was divided into three stretches. The road was monitored on foot by two people every month, over a few consecutive days. A total of 1,892 road kills representing at least 47 species were found. Of these, 90.7% were amphibians, 4.2% mammals, 3.1% birds and 2.0% reptiles. Most (70%) of the amphibians were anurans, with the common toad, common frog and moor frog among them together accounting for 82% of the total. Mortality among amphibians differed between months, most anurans dying in May and August, while a majority of Urodela are lost in October. The peaks in mortality were connected with the migration of adult amphibians in spring and juveniles in summer and autumn. The number of amphibians killed was greatest on the (wettest) stretch adjacent to the river and decreased with distance from it. Mortality among birds was highest in July—probably in association with the dispersal of young individuals. Among recorded mammalian road kills, there was a prevalence of small rodents (mainly voles) and insectivores (mainly shrews). Medium-sized mammals were found only accidentally. Mortality in general was conditioned by the number of anurans killed.

Keywords

Biebrza National Park Road losses Amphibians Birds Mammals 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to express our gratitude do Dr. M. Keller and Dr. P. Rowiński for their help in identifying the remains of birds. We would also like to thank Profs. Jacek Goszczyński and Michał Wasilewski for their comments on the manuscript and their help with the performing of statistical analyses. The text was revised by James Richards.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Forest Ecology and Wildlife ManagementForest Research InstituteRaszynPoland
  2. 2.Department of Forest Protection and EcologyWarsaw University of Life SciencesWarsawPoland

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