Moose on the loose: Scientists calculate when cars are most likely to hit moose
A new study has identified when cars are most likely to hit a moose on the road, with practical implications for drivers’ safety – as well as that of the animals themselves.
The study, the first of its kind in Central Europe, analysed over a decade’s worth of collisions between moose and vehicles in Poland, spanning from 2003 to 2019.
Using GPS tracking of 37 moose, , the researchers found that “the temporal pattern in MVC risk is a function of moose activity, traffic volume and weather conditions, with the strongest effects being attributed to moose activity.”
They found that the collisions peaked in the early autumn, in the months of September-October.
In terms of the time of day, the risk of collision – regardless of the season – was highest during the first hours after dusk.
The team from the Mammal Research Institute at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Białowieża, and three other researchers based in Białystok and Lublin said: “Wildlife-vehicle collisions have become an increasing problem in recent decades as they seriously affect both animals and road users, leading to fatalities, substantial economic losses, and high biodiversity costs.
“These animals are especially active at dusk and dawn, when they forage intensively, while early autumn is a period of increased activity related to the reproductive period.”
The study which has practical applications such as seasonally-adjusted measures including speed limitations or temporary warnings signs, could be used to substantially reduce the number of moose-vehicle collisions.