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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Native wildlife use of highway underpasses in a desert environment

Published source details

Murphy-Mariscal M.L., Barrows C.W. & Allen M.F. (2015) Native wildlife use of highway underpasses in a desert environment. The Southwestern Naturalist, 60, 340-348


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Install barrier fencing and underpasses along roads Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2010–2012 of a desert region of California, USA (Murphy-Mariscal et al. 2015) found that underpasses in areas with roadside fencing were used by a range of native mammals. There were 3,778 wildlife occurrences (mammals and birds) recorded over 4,279 monitoring days (where a monitoring day is one underpass monitored for one day). Rodents made up 32% of occurrences. Rabbits and hares, mainly desert cottontails Sylvilagus audubonii, made up 29%. Birds made up 27% of wildlife occurrences. Other mammals recorded included mule deer Odocoileus hemionus, mountain lion Puma concolor, bobcat Lynx rufus, coyote Canis latrans and ground squirrels (frequencies not reported). Seven underpasses, measuring 18–150 m wide, 3–9 m high and 12–112 m long, were studied. Roads were fenced, but gaps allowed animal passage and fences did not funnel animals towards underpasses. Wildlife movements were monitored from July 2010 to November 2012, using camera traps and track pads.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)