Roadkilled mammals in the northern Amazon region and comparisons with roadways in other regions of Brazil

ABSTRACT Roadways and road traffic modify landscapes, posing a threat to the conservation of species in different biomes. The aim of the present study was to analyze roadkill records of wild mammals and to compare the results to findings from 37 other studies conducted in Brazil, to evaluate the richness and diversity of threatened species in different eco-regions of the country. This study was conducted between June 2007 and June 2008, along 60 km of the inter-state highway BR-364, which connects the municipalities of Ouro Preto d’Oeste and Presidente Médici in the state of Rondônia (northern Brazil). Two hundred twenty roadkills were recorded involving 13 species of mammals. Cingualata, Pilosa and Carnivora were the most represented orders. The most represented were the generalist species Dasypus novemcinctus (56.7%), Tamandua tetradactyla (10.5%), and Cerdocyon thous (8.2%), reflecting the adaptability of these species to habitat changes and presence of humans. The number of roadkilled individuals and species indicated no significant differences between the dry and rainy seasons. The findings indicate a high index of roadkills (3.38 individuals/km/year) and moderate number of run over species (0.20 species/km/year) in the region in comparison to records from other roadways in Brazil, with 46% species having an endangered status. Roadways in the eco-regions of the Cerrado (Brazilian savanna) accounted a significantly larger proportion of endangered species (mean: 52%) in comparison to the Pampa (lowlands of southern Brazil; 24%), but the differences in comparison to roadways in Amazonia (37%) and the Atlantic Forest (31%) were non-significant. The present findings underscore the need for emergency measures to minimize the impact of roadkills on mammals. Moreover, priority should be given to more impacted roadways and more threaten eco-regions.