Traffic impacts on wildlife behavior are largely unknown, but may be the primary determinant of wildlife distribution in response to fragmentation from roads. This webinar will present findings from 3 years of research by the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis on the distribution of wildlife relative to highways and their behavior in response to instantaneous traffic disturbance. There were complex and species-specific responses to noise and light from traffic. In general, there were fewer species found at highway crossings than in quieter habitat areas ~1 km away. Some species, such as bobcats, did not approach noisier highways and crossings. In contrast, mule deer seemed to take advantage of the noisy human environment to graze peacefully in the absence of more sensitive predators. These findings have led us to begin designing crossings to meet the behavioral needs of wildlife.
This webinar highlights findings from a study made possible through funding received by the National Center for Sustainable Transportation, Caltrans, and the Federal Highway Administration.