Road ecology blog: Hunting platfom right adjacent to multifunctional overpass (wildlife and farm road, about 100 m wide), across A4 motorway, Parndorf, Austria.
At most wildlife crossing structures human presence and disturbance is minimized as human co-use of crossing structures has a negative effect on wildlife use. This may be particularly true for species that are sensitive to human disturbance. In multifuntional landscapes however, we are typically dealing with species that thrive with a certain degree of human presence and disturbance. Research so far seems to suggest that species in multifunctional landscapes predominantly use the crossing structures during the night when human use is low. So, in multifunctional landscapes there seems to be a shift of wildlife use towards the dark hours rather than a substantial decline of wildlife use when human co-use is allowed.
While human co-use of crossing structures may make sense in multifunctional landscapes it goes a step further to concentrate hunting at crossing structures. Yet that is what we see in the image below. A hunting platform has been erected right at the entrance of a wildlife overpass. This of course has the potential for extreme negative experiences for wildlife when using the structure and this may ultimately affect the use of the structure by wildlife. It is also indicative though of why the motorway in this area has multiple multifunctional underpasses and overpasses. It is not just about habitat connectivity for wildlife and the ability for farmers to access fields on both sides of the motorway. The greatest push for the structures came from hunting groups. Hunting groups are interested in maintaining relatively large populations of roe deer and European hare and easy access for humans to the area so that hunters can continue to hunt these wildlife species. Hunters are not necessarily interested in the conservation of non-huntable species or maximizing general wildlife use of the structures. Around the world hunting is sometimes (perhaps even often) explicitly forbidden at or near wildlife crossing structures. The wildlife crossing structures near Parndorf in Austria are clearly different. Ironically these crossing structures may not have been here at all, or perhaps only in a lower number, if it was not for the hunting groups...
Click here for images of other multi-functional overpasses.
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