Image Credit: Limba.tv
Facing the challenge of expanding mitigation and monitoring of road projects
Argentina’s road network is more than 750,000 km long, including 82,000 km of paved roads. Wildlife roadkill is an increasing problem in the country and affects numerous species threatened with extinction like jaguar, ocelot, margay, maned wolf, tapir, and giant anteater. At least 4 jaguars were roadkilled in Misiones province in recent years. Also, some wild species are a risk to road safety, such as guanacos in Patagonia, and capybaras, tapirs, marsh deer, and the exotic chital deer in central and northern Argentina. Implementation of mitigation measures for wildlife and roadkill monitoring is still incipient in Argentina. Recently, in Misiones province (Atlantic Forest ecoregion) more than 25 wildlife passages have been built, including the first wildlife overpass in Latin America. However, many critical areas for conservation lack mitigation measures in road infrastructure projects. Gradually road ecology is being incorporated into the agenda of provincial and national agencies.
Red Argentina de Monitoreo de Fauna Atropellada is a citizen science project, nationwide, to monitor wildlife collisions on roads in Argentina. This participatory monitoring initiative is promoted by the Atlantic Forest Research Center (CeIBA) and the Subtropical Biology Institute (IBS – CONICET / Universidad Nacional de Misiones) together with other associated institutions and uses the Epicollect5 platform (available for Android systems and IOS) to systematize data collection through mobile applications. One of the main objectives of the project is to unite the efforts of numerous public, academic, private, and civil society institutions for the collection, curation, mapping, and communication of records of wildlife collisions on highways throughout the country. It is expected that this project will be able to measure the impact of roads on biodiversity on a national scale and serve as a tool for planning and implementing mitigation measures. The partial results of the citizen science monitoring are presented through an interactive map, updated periodically, which can be consulted from the project website.
Argentina in 2008 built the first wildlife overpass in Latin America
Camera trap monitoring proves that most medium and large mammal species use wildlife underpasses and overpass in Misiones province
In 2019, the Argentine Network for Wildlife Roadkill Monitoring was created, an inter-institutional citizen science initiative to monitor roadkills along the whole Argentine road network