Do roe deer react to wildlife warning reflectors? A test combining a controlled experiment with field observations

Do roe deer react to wildlife warning reflectors? A test combining a controlled experiment with... Millions of animals are killed by vehicle collisions each year. As mitigation measures, wildlife warning reflectors have become increasingly popular, although clear evidence for their effectiveness is lacking. A reason for inconclusive results in the literature may be that most previous studies on the effectiveness of wildlife warning reflectors compare animal-vehicle collision rates with and without reflectors, a setting characterised by low event rates and weak experimental control. Animal behaviour can be expected to provide a more direct evidence for a possible effect of reflectors. In this study, we analyse roe deer behaviour in the presence of a blue semicircle reflector, one of the most frequently applied wildlife warning reflectors in Germany and other parts of Europe. Behavioural response to these reflectors (classified as no reaction, vigilance, short-distance flight and long-distance flight) was recorded both under controlled experimental conditions with captive roe deer and for free-ranging roe deer at road sections with traffic occurrence. We used generalised linear mixed models (GLMMs) to test if reflector presence induced threat-related behaviour (vigilance, flight) and movement away from the reflectors. We found no significant evidence that the light stimulus emitted by reflectors was perceived as a threat or induced evasive movement. We conclude that our study provides no evidence that blue semicircle reflectors induce behaviour in roe deer that seems suitable to reduce roe deer-vehicle collisions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Journal of Wildlife Research Springer Journals

Do roe deer react to wildlife warning reflectors? A test combining a controlled experiment with field observations

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Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany
Subject
Life Sciences; Zoology; Ecology; Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
ISSN
1612-4642
eISSN
1439-0574
D.O.I.
10.1007/s10344-017-1130-5
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Millions of animals are killed by vehicle collisions each year. As mitigation measures, wildlife warning reflectors have become increasingly popular, although clear evidence for their effectiveness is lacking. A reason for inconclusive results in the literature may be that most previous studies on the effectiveness of wildlife warning reflectors compare animal-vehicle collision rates with and without reflectors, a setting characterised by low event rates and weak experimental control. Animal behaviour can be expected to provide a more direct evidence for a possible effect of reflectors. In this study, we analyse roe deer behaviour in the presence of a blue semicircle reflector, one of the most frequently applied wildlife warning reflectors in Germany and other parts of Europe. Behavioural response to these reflectors (classified as no reaction, vigilance, short-distance flight and long-distance flight) was recorded both under controlled experimental conditions with captive roe deer and for free-ranging roe deer at road sections with traffic occurrence. We used generalised linear mixed models (GLMMs) to test if reflector presence induced threat-related behaviour (vigilance, flight) and movement away from the reflectors. We found no significant evidence that the light stimulus emitted by reflectors was perceived as a threat or induced evasive movement. We conclude that our study provides no evidence that blue semicircle reflectors induce behaviour in roe deer that seems suitable to reduce roe deer-vehicle collisions.

Journal

European Journal of Wildlife ResearchSpringer Journals

Published: Aug 14, 2017

References

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