A site that collects and maps roadkill using volunteers with cameras, the California Roadkill Observation System, is hoping to raise awareness of the number of animals killed on America's roads every year. They're hoping to create a smartphone app, too.
The New York Times today looks at the year old website, which is run by researchers from the University of California, Davis. Hundreds of people contribute photos and GPS coordinates of dead animals they see along the roads and upload them to the site. A retired veterinarian, Ron Ringen, whose friends call him "Doctor Roadkill," has logged some 1,400 animals on the site. "Most people don't realize how many animals die on the road every day — they just don't see it," he told the paper.
What's the motivation behind the site? "For some people the only contact they have with wild animals is when they run them over," lead researcher Fraser M. Shilling told the Times. They also want to hire a software developer to make a smartphone app to attract young people and to ensure the data's accuracy.
Estimates from the Humane Society put the yearly death toll for animals on America's roads at one million, and the Federal Highway Administration estimates that accidents involving animals costs $8 billion in damages every year. But there could soon be an app for that. Problem solved.