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Roadkill data crunching

August 28, 2012

Roadkill Research in South Africa

And so the data crunching has started, and we are beginning to look at the possible causes of roadkill. What’s really exciting is I’m working alongside Meg Murison, an Honours student, who is also based at Rhodes University. Many of you will remember that Meg featured in the February edition of our newsletter and spoke about the work that she is conducting on roadkill in the Eastern Cape. Meg applied the method that we devised across two ecological seasons, in a totally different part of South Africa, Not only is the vegetation  very different but so are many of the species that occur here. Whilst Meg found a number of different species, what is interesting about her preliminary data are her findings in each taxon.

From our two graphs you can see parallels between what we found – Meg and I both found more bird species during the hot / wet season than we did in the cold / dry season. While during the cold / dry season, mammal species dominated our findings.

We are both in our early stages of analysing our data, but there look to be some exciting comparison between two extreme ends of the country.

Image                   Number of roadkill detected over 120-days across three ecological seasons (Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Park Area, northern Limpopo)




 Number of roadkill detected over a 20-day period across two ecological seasons (Grahamstown vicinity, Eastern Cape)

Meg also conducted her transects on two different road surfaces, tar and gravel roads. Both our preliminary data show that the percentage of roadkill detected on the tar road was higher than it was for the gravel. Meg’s gravel road was also very different to the description of the gravel road in Limpopo. Meg’s picture of a Genet shows the road surface to be more stony, whilst the gravel surface in Limpopo was more sandy.


Percentage of roadkill detected across two ecological seasons, comparing two areas of South Africa and two road surfaces


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