Vehicle Collisions and Wildlife - Ryan Pennesi Photography
This pregnant doe is one of many road killed animals along this stretch of highway

Wildlife and Vehicles don't mix


Many folks don't realize that feeding wildlife can have unintended consequences. Negative effects can manifest themselves in several ways. Human residences are often within close proximity to one other and are connected by busy roads that have  vehicle traffic. White tail deer in particular will accumulate in high densities next to these locations and form routine movement patterns based on the feeding stations. The animals being fed can lose fear of people which may make them more susceptible to hunting and fur trapping pressures. They may additionally  become accustomed to unnatural and potentially unhealthy food sources (popular example for deer: corn). Feeding stations may inadvertently spread pathogens and aid in the proliferation of diseases such as Chronic Wastings Disease (CWD) and brain worm in deer. Collisions of vehicles with wildlife are very dangerous to people, to the animal, and to the scavengers who feed on the road-kill carcass next to the busy road. 


Whenever I have a safe opportunity to remove a road kill carcass (deer or any other species) from the roadway or roadside ditch--I do. The smell and sight of the carcass will lure many scavenger species to the roadside, exposing those animals to the same fate.  By moving the carcass and placing a remotely triggered camera on it, I have been able to document what sorts of animals scavenge road kill and are also at risk of being hit. While I do not condone baiting for wildlife photography I make an exception with road kill (it is a local, natural food source that would attract these scavengers anyways). I will always disclose if road kill was an attractant when sharing a photo. When I physically move the carcass I make sure to call a local conservation officer and obtain a permit. It helps environmental law enforcement keep track of the deceased animal mostly for population information and to prevent inadvertent disease transmission. 

A raven and bald eagles visit a road kill carcass
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