Traffic Accidents Kill Wild Animals Daily, But What Are The Numbers, Exactly

I think we are all aware of the risks posed to wild and domestic animals trying to cross highways and roadways in the United States.

In this blog we have spotlighted the deaths of wolves in California, deer in Pennsylvania including OR93 the wolf who traveled 1,000 miles from Oregon to California but wound up dead by the side of a Kern County road.

But exactly how big is the problem?

nature animal grass meadow
Deer are among the most common victims of roadway accidents. Photo by Pixabay on

It is actually quite large. According to one study road collisions with animals cause about $1 billion in damage every 5 years. This is in California alone. During a four year stretch 557 black bears and 300 cougars were killed. They are usually victims of shrinking habitats which force them to wander and they try to cross a road.

The Road Ecology Center of the University of California, Davis reported on about 400 species that were involved in crashes. The center brings together researchers and other stakeholders to try and make our roadways safer and more sustainable. According to the center, the deadliest stretch for wildlife appears to be the I-280 between San Bruno and Cupertino. The center used 44,000 California Highway Patrol reports recorded during an 11 year period to write the report. In addition 65,000 citizen reports were collated. Those reports came from the California Roadkill Observation System phone app.

white wolves in green grass
Wolves are also among those killed in road accidents. Photo by patrice schoefolt on

The app is administered by the road ecology center and allows motorists to record road kill incidents and report them to authorities to help track and monitor wildlife deaths.

Mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles were among the crash victims and the incidents resulted in serious damage and injuries.

photo of a cougar near a log
Mountain lions are among the common victims of highway fatalities Photo by Nicky Pe on

If we look at the crash rate between deer and cars the statistics are truly staggering

Nationally, there are 1.5 million car/deer accidents annually. About 150 people are killed and 10,000 are injured. Deer/car accidents alone cost about $1 billion. Fatal accidents are on the rise as are injuries and the average costs of an accident. It is important to note that most accidents occur between 6 and 9 p.m. which is the time to be extra cautious.

Published by ursusrising

long time writer and editor living in Los Angeles

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