San Antonio

Researching roadkill to save an endangered cat

It’s tremendous cute, tremendous uncommon and nearly extinct. But scientists & TxDOT are hoping to save a species with wildlife crossings.

CAMERON COUNTY, Texas — Most folks have a tendency to keep away from in search of or at useless animals when behind the wheel. Molly Picillo isn’t a type of folks.

She searches for roadkill—for science. 

“Did you get a good look at what it might be?” she asks a colleague whereas within the automobile, documenting an occasion of a roadkill. “I’m thinking raccoon or possum.”

“That’s a possum,” she informed KENS 5, whereas getting into info right into a pill about one other useless animal. “They’re cute, I think, at least.”

Picillo is a analysis affiliate at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences, the place she and her colleagues are serving to TxDOT work out if their wildlife crossings are working by conducting a mortality survey.

“By looking at mortalities, hopefully, with collecting enough data over time, we can see that there’s a decrease in road mortalities. And hopefully that means that species are now habituating to the crossings and utilizing them,” she stated.

“We put information about where it [an animal] was found, like longitude (and) latitude, which is built into the survey. The date and time (it was) collected, the road it was collected on,” Picillo stated.

TxDOT has constructed 27 wildlife crossings throughout the Rio Grande Valley, primarily for the ocelot, a species of noticed wild cat. 

“Here in the United States, it is an endangered species,” Picillo stated. “There are less than 100 to be known in the United States, and they all exist in South Texas.”

The crossings are meant to save all the species and the ecosystems round them.

“You want to keep things that exist, existing,” Picillo stated.

The people profit from these, too; fewer accidents to us and one much less life a automobile runs over.

Picillo and the staff are monitoring the roadways with and with out the crossings, so as to get a comparability and overview of what’s working. Picillo informed KENS 5 the findings from their research might be accessible in a few years, as a result of science takes time.

TxDOT informed KENS 5 all types of animals have been caught on digital camera utilizing the crossings, together with armadillos, javelins, bobcats, long-tailed weasels and alligators.

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