Pattern and Distribution of Fatal Injuries in Wildlife Vehicle Collisions (2010-2019)
One of the major causes of death of wild animals worldwide is vehicle collisions. In Portugal the number of animals killed by vehicle collisions has grown in the past years. In order to characterize pathologic lesions sustained by wild animals injured in wildlife vehicle collisions, the necropsy reports of 170 animals (mammals and birds) performed between January 2010 and June 2019 were evaluated. The majority of the animals were wild mammals (73.5%), being Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) (26.5%) the most common species. There were more collisions adult animals (88.2%) than young animals. There was no difference between sexes. The most commonly affected body area was abdomen and pelvis injuries in mammals (80.8%) and coelomic cavity in birds (80.0%). Musculoskeletal lesions were the most commonly identified on both Classes. The evaluation of post-mortem lesions in animals who suffered from traffic collisions may provide important information to enhance knowledge in this area of study. Integration of this data with animal behaviour may, in the future, allow the establishment of measures to prevent wild animal’s traffic collisions.