Casual drivers might struggle to link the Earth's environmental health and the lifeless, mangled bodies of wildlife reduced to roadkill after collisions with moving vehicles. But experts from across the globe are meeting this week in Fort Myers at the International Conference on Wildlife Ecology and Transportation to contemplate topics such as "Hedgehog Traffic Victims" and "Quantifying Roadkill in Saguaro National Park."
"The more I look into it, the more I find that it's an international problem," says Gary Evink, senior environmental scientist for the Florida Department of Transportation. Evink's office is credited with helping to rescue the Florida panther from extinction by installing protected crossings for the panthers along I-75 in South Florida. And an over-sized culvert west of Sanford on Route 46 offers Florida black bears a similar safe haven.
Even those unconcerned with the ecosystem should get up to speed, Evink says: "It's a motorist safety and wildlife issue."