Do turtle warning signs reduce roadkill?
Keywords:Turtles, reptiles, road mitigation, wildlife signs, BACI design
Roadkill is a serious threat for many species of freshwater turtles. One of the most common road mitigation tools is wildlife warning signs to alert drivers. These warning signs have commonly been used for large mammals, although there is little evidence that they are effective in reducing roadkill. We tested the effectiveness of turtle warning signs at four known roadkill hotspots along a provincial highway in eastern Ontario and compared the results with four control sites on a nearby major road in a before-after-control-impact (BACI) study. We found 30 dead turtles in the four hotspots in 2017 before the signs were installed and 27 in 2018 after the signs were installed. The number of turtles killed on the road after the signs were installed did not change significantly (χ21 = 1.1, P > 0.2). Although turtle warning signs may alert some drivers, they should not be considered a replacement for more effective road mitigation tools, such as wildlife fencing and crossing structures.
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