The interrelations between human activity and animal populations are of increasing interest due to the emergence of the novel COVID-19 and the consequent pandemic across the world. Anthropogenic impacts of the pandemic on animals in urban-suburban environments are largely unknown. In this study, the temporal and spatial patterns of urban animal response to the COVID-19 lockdown were assessed using animal-vehicle collisions (AVC) data. We collected AVC data over two 6-month periods in 2019 and 2020 (January to June) from the largest metropolis in southern Poland, which included lockdown months. Furthermore, we used traffic data to understand the impact of lockdown on AVC in the urban area. Our analysis of 1063 AVC incidents revealed that COVID-19 related lockdown decreased AVC rates in suburban areas. However, in the urban area, even though traffic volume had significantly reduced, AVC did not decrease significantly, suggesting that lockdown did not influence the collision rates in the urban area. Our results suggest that there is a need to focus on understanding the effects of changes in traffic volume on both human behaviour and wildlife space use on the resulting impacts on AVC in the urban area.
Basak, S., O'Mahony, D., Lesiak, M., Basak, A., Ziółkowska, E., Kaim, D., Hossain, M. & Wierzbowska, I. 2022, 'Animal-vehicle collisions during the COVID-19 lockdown in early 2020 in the Krakow metropolitan region, Poland', Scientific Report, 12, article no: 7572. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-11526-9