Splatt back

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 1994:

DERRY, New Hampshire––Dr.
Splatt’s Roadkill Monitoring Project is under-
way for the second year. Sixty secondary
schoolrooms are keeping an online log of
roadkills for nine weeks, starting March 14.
Thirty classes last spring compiled
the biggest data base on roadkills to date,
finding apparent peak times of vulnerability
for grey squirrels, raccoons, birds, beavers,
skunks, and rats, which may coincide with
when young leave their parents, the growth
of favored food plants, moon phases,
and––for scavengers––peaks in roadkills of
other species.

The Dr. Splatt project also suggest-
ed a means of estimating national and region-
al roadkill tolls. Though it covered just New
England, it provided enough data for long
enough from enough different places to indi-
cate a surprisingly steady ratio of .93 road-
kills per mile, regardless of traffic volume
and habitat type. That ratio, projected to the
whole U.S., would suggest 514,000 animals
are killed each day; 3.6 million per week;
and 187 million per year, of whom 82%
would be mammals, 15% birds, and 3%
reptiles and amphibians, who were probably
undercounted because their remains are hard-
er to see and are often soon scavenged by
This year’s Dr. Splatt project is still
heavily tilted toward New England––but also
includes classes in Texas, Florida, Ohio and
If the peak intervals of vulnerability
observed last year can be confirmed, future
roadkills may be prevented by issuing
species-specific alerts with radio traffic
reports, warning drivers about the character-
istic behavior of the species most likely to
wander into roads.
The Dr. Splatt project manual is
available for $10 c/o Brewster Bartlett,
Pinkerton Academy, 19 North Main St.,
Derry, NH 03038. Further information is
available from Bartlett at 603-432-2588 or via
E-mail at BBartlett@vmsvas.simmons.edu.
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