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Temporal patterns of wild boar-vehicle collisions in Estonia, at the northern limit of its range

Abstract

Collisions with large ungulates are considered to be a serious problem in many countries over the world. These incidents create a rising concern in traffic safety and cause extensive ecological and economical damage. In this paper, we investigate temporal distribution of wild boar-related traffic accidents—seasonal, weekday and diurnal patterns. We analysed 918 collision reports collected by Estonian environmental emergency hotline, police and insurance companies during 2004–2013. Notable increase in wild boar abundance and harvest numbers appeared during the study period, leading not only to higher road collision risk but also having been referred to African swine fever emergence in the area. Our results suggest that the highest risk for collision is in October, November and December. More wild boar-vehicle collisions (WBVCs) occur during weekends with a peak on Friday probably due to higher traffic volumes. Regarding diurnal patterns, most of WBVCs occur after sunset, and the frequency of collisions remains high until late night. Knowledge about temporal patterns of WBVCs is important, as it may help to improve suitable mitigation measures.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported by the project IUT2-16 ‘Global Warming and Material Cycling in Landscapes. Global Warming- and Human-Induced Changes of Landscape Structure and Functions: Modelling and Ecotechnological Regulation of Material Fluxes in Landscapes’, financed by the Estonian Research Council.

We are grateful to the Estonian Environmental Inspectorate and Estonian Road Administration for providing the collision data. Special thanks to Villu Lükk and Sirje Lilleorg from the Estonian Road Administration for their useful comments about the data, and the anonymous reviewers for constructive criticism on an earlier draft of this manuscript. We would also like to thank all road users, hunters and police officers who have reported collisions or animal carcasses on the road.

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Correspondence to Maris Kruuse.

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Kruuse, M., Enno, SE. & Oja, T. Temporal patterns of wild boar-vehicle collisions in Estonia, at the northern limit of its range. Eur J Wildl Res 62, 787–791 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-016-1042-9

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Keywords

  • Road ecology
  • Wild boar-vehicle collisions
  • Temporal patterns
  • Traffic safety