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The Use of a Motorway Wildlife Overpass By Large Mammals

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

We studied how mammals used a wildlife overpass across a motorway in central Netherlands using track counts in 1989, 1994 and 1995. Throughout the study the overpass was used most frequently by red deer (Cervus elaphus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa) and, less often, by roe deer (Capreolus capreolucs), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), fallow deer (Duma duma), Highland cattle, and badger (Meles meles). For red deer and wild boar the highest incidence of use was in autumn/early winter, correlating with the rutting season. Small mammals caught on the overpass were wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus), common vole (Microtus arvalis) and common shrew (Sorex araneus). The wildlife overpasses can be an effective means of connecting habitats for a wide range of mammals but the effectiveness is related to the width of the overpass. For large mammals a minimum width of 40-50 meters is recommended.

Affiliations: 1: Tropical Nature Conservation and Vertebrate Ecology Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, Bornsesteeg 69, 6708 PD Wageningen, The Netherlands


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