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Silver lining: Wildlife deaths down 44% on Maine roads due to coronavirus pandemic

A study by the Road Ecology Center found a large decline in the deaths of Maine wildlife because of the decreased amount of traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MAINE, USA — Maine's Wildlife may be one of the only benefactors of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Wild animal deaths resulting from cars fell 44% in Maine due to decreased traffic as a result of the pandemic. 

The Ecology Center at the University of California - Davis studied Maine, California, and Idaho. Researchers found traffic on U.S. roads fell by as much as 73% during the peak of the stay-at-home orders in March and April. During the same time frame, wildlife killed in vehicle collisions dropped by up to 58% nationally.

In Maine, the normal daily average number of animal deaths declined from 15.2 to 8.4 animals.

Mark Latti, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says, "It's too soon to see if it has a direct impact. We look at long term trends. We have a management system that deals with fluctuations." 

The study shows California with a 21% decline and Idaho with a 38% decrease. 

A group to benefit greatly were mountain lions in California. The research showed a 58% reduction in deaths. According to the study, the state is considering legal protection for the species, partly because of lion-vehicle collisions. 

Credit: Getty Images

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