Reptile road mortality in a fragmented landscape of the middle Magdalena Valley, Colombia

Eliana Ramos Pallares, Fabio Leonardo Meza Joya


Wildlife-vehicle collisions kill millions of wild animals around the world, however this number could be underestimated because the absent of monitoring of road-kill events. Here, we aimed to examine reptile road mortality in three routes located on a fragmented landscape in the Middle Magdalena Valley, Santander department, Colombia. We described the species composition affected by road mortality, estimated the road-kill rates for each studied road segment, and also analyzed the spatial and temporal distributions of reptile road-kills, identifying the location of road-kill hotspots, and proposing mitigation measures. During an 8-month period, we recorded a total of 66 road-killed reptiles belonging to 18 species. There was difference in the number of roadkills among seasons, being the rainy season where there was a biggest number of road-kill events. The road with the highest number of road-kill events was Departmental Route 1 (DR01) this also presents the highest road-kill rates relative to the other road segments assessed. Spatial distribution for road-kill reptiles was non-random for the route DR01, indicating that mortalities were aggregated in some locations, which correspond to potential road-kill hotspots. The road-kill hotspots identified in this study offer a unique opportunity for design efficient mitigation measures that will work properly. Based on our results, as well as in the social and economic reality of the study region, we consider that mitigation measures should be focused on changing driver behavior, involving educational plans to increase public awareness and promote in the local people behaviors in benefit to wildlife conservation.

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