iNaturalist App Helps Document Roadkill for Scientists and Traffic Engineers

Roadkill survey app, iNaturalist, was developed by non-profit group Adventures in Science in conjunction with the University of California at Davis to document roadkill observations for researchers and transportation designers. The app is mainly a photo and mapping app that allows you to share geo-tagged photos of your wildlife observation – don’t worry if you can’t identify any species, even a photo with a simple description helps. The app is targeted towards avid road cyclists, but anyone can log entries in the app or on-line.

With volunteer contributions, the project enables scientists to determine what species are affected by human behaviors and at what time of year. Further, the data can also give an estimate of populations of various types of animals and their geographical distributions. This type of information is invaluable for policy makers who can design more sustainable infrastructure.

Wildlife occur almost everywhere people do. We like them and take them for granted. However, we are also losing them at an alarming rate. Because roads criss-cross many landscapes, they provide a convenient place from which to see certain wildlife. They are also where many animals die, hit by cars or trucks. Our project collects observations of wildlife along roads (and off them too) so that we can understand where they live and are moving to. In the case of roadkill, we also want to understand what causes roadkill, which animals are affected, whether or not there are roadkill “hotspots” and what we can do to reduce roadkill impacts on wildlife.

iNaturalist is also a great app to document any type of wildlife observations – community members can help you identify species if you are not knowledgeable about local biology.