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The effect of traffic volume on translocated small mammal movement


We investigated whether white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) and eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus) were capable of crossing roads with varying levels of traffic volume. We live-trapped small mammals in 24 “home” patches. We uniquely marked and translocated 197 white-footed mice and 115 eastern chipmunks to nearby forest patches. Recaptured animals were recorded as successful returns. Forty five (22.8%) of the mice and 22 (19.1%) of the chipmunks returned to their home patches within six days of their release. Traffic on roads between the capture and release sites had a significant negative effect on small mammal return rates. No small mammals returned when moved across roads with average annual daily traffic over 11,000. Roads with low traffic may be weak barriers to movement, but high traffic prevents successful crossing.

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