Last year Bob, from the DEW wild animal kingdom a mile from our house in Mount Vernon, picked up 286 dead deer, killed in collisions with motor vehicles on the roads within one hour of Mount Vernon. Bob feeds the deer to his lions.
Yes, lots of wild animals are killed by motor vehicles on our roads here in Maine. And Maine Audubon is leading an effort to map these deaths, in partnership with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, and MaineDOT.
The project is funded in part by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, in which proceeds from the sale of a dedicated instant lottery ticket are used to support outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation. The Heritage Fund is an idea I came up with when I was working for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and Maine Audubon was our partner in creating the fund.
If you would like to participate in that project, you can contact Audubon at email@example.com to sign up for training sessions and surveys. You can learn a lot more about the project here: www.maineaudubon.org/projects/road-watch/ and access the information they are gathering.
One of the critters that is often killed on our highways is turtles. I will confess that I used to hate snapping turtles, mostly because they eat a lot of my fish. I was fishing in the brook behind my house one year and a snapping turtle chased me right out of the brook.
So there was a time, if I saw a snapper in or along the road, I would run over it. Eventually I figured out that I was wrong and I redeemed myself one evening when I was driving home and noticed that the small bridge near my house was full of baby snappers. Half of them had already been run over and I rescued all the baby turtles that were still alive and moved them over the edge of the stream.
A short time ago Linda and I were traveling down I-95 from Bangor to Waterville and I spotted six porcupines that were run over. Now I’m not a big fan of porcupines either, but I do recognize today that we are doing great damage to many of our animals by killing them along our roadways.
If you can, please volunteer to help Maine Audubon with this important project.