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Ungulates and trains - Factors influencing flight responses and detectability

Bhardwaj, Manisha and Olsson, Mattias and Håkansson, Emma and Söderström, Pär and Seiler, Andreas (2022). Ungulates and trains - Factors influencing flight responses and detectability. Journal of Environmental Management. 313 , 114992
[Research article]

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Wildlife-train collisions can have deleterious effects on local wildlife populations and come with high socioeconomic costs, such as damages, delays, and psychological distress. In this study, we explored two major components of wildlife-train collisions: the response of wildlife to oncoming trains and the detection of wildlife by drivers. Using dashboard cameras, we explored the flight response of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and moose (Alces alces) to oncoming trains and explored which factors, such as lighting and physical obstructions, affect their detection by drivers. In a majority of cases, roe deer and moose fled from an oncoming train, at an average flight initiation distance (FID) of 78 m and 79 m respectively. Warning horns had unexpected influences on flight behaviour. While roe deer initiated flight, on average, 44 m further away from the train when warned, they usually fled towards the tracks, in the direction of danger. FID of moose, however, was unaffected by the use of a warning horn. As train speed increased, moose had a lower FID, but roe deer FID did not change. Finally, detection of wildlife was obstructed by the presence of vegetation and uneven terrain in the rail-side verge, which could increase the risk of collisions. Our results indicate the need for early detection and warning of wildlife to reduce the risk of collisions. We propose that detection systems should include thermal cameras to allow detection behind vegetation and in the dark, and warning systems should use cues early to warn of oncoming trains and allow wildlife to escape the railway corridor safely.

Authors/Creators:Bhardwaj, Manisha and Olsson, Mattias and Håkansson, Emma and Söderström, Pär and Seiler, Andreas
Title:Ungulates and trains - Factors influencing flight responses and detectability
Series Name/Journal:Journal of Environmental Management
Year of publishing :2022
Article number:114992
Number of Pages:7
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Keywords:Animal behaviour, Linear infrastructure, Railway ecology, Road ecology, Detection, Flight
Permanent URL:
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000797216200002
ID Code:28205
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:02 Jun 2022 13:19
Metadata Last Modified:02 Jun 2022 13:21

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