Mountain lions face greater risk of becoming roadkill in wildfire’s aftermath, study says
Two of the three most common species of big cats that live around North America face a greater risk of becoming roadkill after wildfires, the National Park Service said in a new report.
Park rangers recorded nearly 4,500 collisions and attacks involving bears, cougars and mountain lions in the first three months of this year, according to the report issued Thursday.
Of the attacks, more than a third were directed at people, while cougars were the most frequent targets of collisions.
The report released as the nation braced for the first major wildfire in Colorado in decades calls on state and federal officials to increase funding for prevention efforts and fire fighters to have safe paths to fight blazes.
The report also recommends that wildlife agencies work to improve their efforts to identify people killed or injured by cougars or bears.
The study showed that roadblocked by snowfall or avalanche debris posed the greatest threat to those species, which are more likely to die from being hit.
Mountain lions and bears that are not traveling in urban areas were most likely to be hit by other animals or vehicles, the study said.
A big difference is the amount of snowfall that can build up along roadways. The report said snowfall of the highest five inches created hazards to those big cats that would be impossible a week later, because the snow would be too deep and compacted to support snowmobile travel.
This was most likely the reason that roadkills in June were an average of 13.7 miles from the edge of a road to the animal’s location, the report said.
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