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First national assessment of wildlife mortality in Ecuador: an effort from citizens and academia to collect roadkill data at country scale.
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  • Pablo Medrano-Vizcaíno,
  • David Brito-Zapata,
  • Adriana Rueda,
  • José-María García-Carrasco,
  • Diana Medina,
  • Juan Aguilar,
  • Néstor Acosta,
  • Manuela Gonzalez-Suarez
Pablo Medrano-Vizcaíno
University of Reading

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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David Brito-Zapata
Red Ecuatoriana Para el Monitoreo de Fauna Atropellada-REMFA
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Adriana Rueda
Instituto de Investigación en Biomedicina de la Universidad Central del Ecuador
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José-María García-Carrasco
Department of Animal Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Málaga
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Diana Medina
Parque Nacional Cayambe Coca Zona baja-Ministerio del Ambiente, Agua, y Transición Ecológica del Ecuador
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Juan Aguilar
Escuela de Biología, Universidad del Azuay, Cuenca, Ecuador
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Néstor Acosta
Ministerio del Ambiente, Agua, y Transición Ecológica del Ecuador.
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Manuela Gonzalez-Suarez
University of Reading
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Ecuador has both high richness and high endemism of species which are increasingly threatened by anthropic pressures, including roads. However, research evaluating the effects of roads remains scarce, making it difficult to develop mitigation plans. Here we present the first national assessment of wildlife mortality that allow us to 1) identify species and areas where mortality occurs due to collision with vehicles and 2) reveal knowledge gaps. We bring together data from systematic surveys and citizen science efforts in Ecuador to present a dataset with >5000 wildlife roadkill records from 454 species. Systematic surveys were reported by ten studies conducted in five out of the 24 Ecuadorian provinces. Collectively they revealed 282 species with mortality rates ranging from 0.008 to 95.56 ind./km/year. The highest rates were for the yellow warbler Setophaga petechia in Galápagos (95.56 ind./km/year), the cane toad Rhinella marina in Napo (16.91 ind./km/year), and the small ground-finch Geospiza fuliginosa in Galápagos (14.11 ind./km/year). Citizen science and other no systematic monitoring provided 1705 roadkill records representing all the 24 provinces of Ecuador and 299 species. The common opossum Didelphis marsupialis, the Andean white-eared opossum Didelphis pernigra, and the yellow warbler Setophaga petechia were more commonly reported (250, 104, and 81 individuals respectively). Across all sources, we found 15 species listed as Threatened and six as Data Deficient by the IUCN. We suggest stronger research efforts on areas where mortality of endemic or threatened species could be critical for populations, such as in Galápagos. This first assessment of wildlife mortality on Ecuadorian roads represents contributions from several sectors including academia, members of the public, and government underlining the value of wider engagement and collaboration. We hope these findings and the compiled dataset will guide sustainable planning of infrastructure in Ecuador and ultimately, contribute to reduce wildlife mortality on roads.
12 Oct 2022Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
12 Oct 2022Submission Checks Completed
12 Oct 2022Assigned to Editor
12 Oct 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
30 Nov 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
02 Dec 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
09 Feb 20231st Revision Received
21 Feb 2023Submission Checks Completed
21 Feb 2023Assigned to Editor
21 Feb 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
27 Feb 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
27 Feb 20232nd Revision Received
28 Feb 2023Submission Checks Completed
28 Feb 2023Assigned to Editor
28 Feb 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
01 Mar 2023Editorial Decision: Accept