SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) — The Division of Wildlife Resources has recently partnered with the Utah Department of Transportation to release a new app called the Utah Roadkill Reporter with the goals of reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions and building wildlife crossing structures on roads.
It uses GPS tracking technology to collect high-accuracy data on dead animals on the road so that UDOT and DWR employees can then remove those carcasses quickly.
“It is important for us to understand how many wildlife-vehicle collisions occur in Utah,” said Blair Stringham, DWR Utah Migration Initiative Coordinator. “This new app will allow us to know exactly when and where collisions occur, which will help us identify hot spot areas on Utah highways. We can then work with UDOT and other partners to install underpasses, fencing, wildlife overpasses and other structures to reduce collisions in those areas and keep wildlife and people safe.”
The most reported wildlife-vehicle collisions in Utah are with deer and elk, according to the DWR. So far, there have been 4,900 reported collisions with deer, 166 reported collisions with elk and 20 reported collisions with moose. DWR said that the actual numbers are likely twice as high since many incidents go unreported.
The app will have access to all the reported cases, carcasses that have been picked up and routes contractors are using to complete the pick-up.
Aside from reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions, the data will also benefit the Utah Wildlife Migration Initiative in understanding the annual migration patterns of animals in Utah. The initiative also tracks animals that are wearing GPS devices and fish tagged with implanted transmitters.
Using the data, biologists will also be able to determine areas in which animals spend most of their time and subsequently perform improvements in those habitats.
“For years, wildlife carcass data has been a key factor in UDOT and DWR’s decision-making process to make Utah roads safer and improve wildlife population health,” said UDOT’s Natural Resource Manager Matt Howard. “The new app will make it easier for the public to use and will give us more and better information to guide future mitigation efforts.”