Safe Passage: Exploring predator-prey dynamics in wildlife corridors

April Martinig studied how predator and prey species interact inside wildlife corridors and joined Defender Radio to share her insights!

Wildlife corridors are a great idea: they connect habitats and ecosystems, allowing animals of all types to safely get across roads. As over 20,000 animals are killed, 570 motorists injured and $700,000 spent for clean up of animal-vehicle collisions in BC according to WildlifeCollisions.ca, corridors are also a wise investment.

They come in many shapes and sizes, but generally are under or above ground passages that allow for safe passage where humans travelling at high-speeds represent a risk.

Questions about the efficacy of these corridors are being answered with ongoing research; but one that jumped out at me was the question of how a wildlife corridor impacts predator-prey relationships. There’s a logic to the concern: if a predator figures out that their prey are routinely using a narrow, easy-to-ambush tunnel, they may be able to outwit and negatively impact prey populations.

Of course, the best way to find an answer is to ask a question: and that’s what April Martinig did.

Martinig, a PhD candidate at University of Alberta, was the lead author on a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, titled ‘Temporal clustering of prey in wildlife passages provides no evidence of a prey-trap.’ This study adds to the growing list of benefits of wildlife corridors around the world. To explain why wildlife corridors are great, the lengthy process of reviewing tens of thousands of images from trail cameras, and what insights about predators, prey and their relationships she learned, April Martinig joined Defender Radio.

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