The stay-at-home order to fight COVID-19 has resulted in a significant downfall in the roadkill rate in three states, showed a study published Thursday.
The data released by the researchers at the Road Ecology Center at the University of California Davis showed that the number of animals killed on roads by cars reduced to 21-56% in California, Idaho, and Maine between early-March and mid-April.
“There is a statistically significant decline in wildlife deaths on highways in all three states following reductions in traffic this spring,” said Fraser Shilling, director of the UC Davis Road Ecology Center and report author.
“This has not been the case for any of the previous five years for these three states. If anything, there is usually an increase in spring” he continued.
The study further asserts the daily roadkill of more than 8 large animals on the streets of California before they issued the stay-at-home order on March 19. It has caused a 71% drop in traffic and the death of mountain lions has declined by 58%.
The rate at which the mountain lions were being killed made the state’s Fish and Game Commission vote unanimously in April to include the mountain lions of the Southern California to temporary protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Idaho issued the stay-at-home order on March 25. A 63% drop in traffic has been noted in that study period, leading to a decline in the number of animals killed on road by 38%.
In Maine, the same order was issued on March 31 and the researchers have noted a 73% drop in traffic and the roadkill rate has been reduced by half.
While the number of roadkill rates has lowered in recent months, all 50 states have started to reopen their economies, easing the Coronavirus restrictions.
AAA’s assumption of 683 million road trips between July and September, is feared to escalate the spread of the coronavirus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health, told Congress Tuesday that the next two weeks will be “critical” in how the country addresses the surge in states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona.