By Creating a 'Landscape of Fear,' Wolves Reduce Car Collisions With Deer
A new study in Wisconsin suggests the predators keep prey away from roads, reducing crashes by 24 percent
May 28, 2021
Research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights an underappreciated benefit of wild wolf populations: the large predators frighten deer away from dangerous roadways, saving money and lives in the process.
According to the analysis 22 years of data, a county's deer-vehicle collisions fall by about 24 percent after wolves take up residence there, Christina Larson reports for the Associated Press. Nearly 20,000 Wisconsin residents collide with deer each year, which leads to about 477 injuries and eight deaths annually. There are 29 counties in Wisconsin that have wolves.
"Some lives are saved, some injuries are prevented, and a huge amount of damage and time are saved by having wolves present," says Wesleyan University natural resource economist Jennifer Raynor to Ed Yong at the Atlantic.