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Caution: wildlife on the roads

It’s springtime, and that means more wildlife is out of hibernation and into procreation, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists.

Collisions with large animals such as bears, deer, elk and wildcats can be serious accidents.

“Roads can create dangerous barriers for many species of wildlife, because they often bisect migration paths and can separate breeding, feeding and other areas vital for animals’ survival,” says Simon Wray, an ODFW conservation biologist from Bend. “We think of deer and elk mortality because it is so visible, but many wildlife species die on the road every day.”

But turtles, frogs, squirrels, snakes, ducks and geese also suffer from crossing the street. Amphibians are drawn to the concrete to soak up heat from the day. Some roads, such as Highway 97, have underpasses for wildlife to safely traverse in search of nesting grounds or dinner.

“Stopping to help a turtle in the road is first a question of human safety,” said Susan Barnes, ODFW conservation biologist. “If you can safely stop and get off the road, it is fine to pick the turtle up and carry it to the side of the road. Just make sure you place it in the direction it is headed. Otherwise, it will try to cross the road again.”

Keep an eye out for wildlife crossing signs and check out this color-coded map of Oregon wildlife incidents.

Julia Rogers can be reached at 503-546-5137 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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