Roadkill Data Collection using Citizen Science in Austria

The most direct impact of roads on vertebrate species is roadkill – particularly for those with high mobility or seasonal migration behaviour, such as mammals or amphibians. In Austria, official data of roadkilled animals are only available for huntable wildlife (e.g. deer, fox, badger). In the year 2015, amongst others 22602 European hare, 37412 Roe deer, 1193 European badger were killed on Austrian roads. However, there are no data available on the effects of roads on non-huntable wildlife or red list species such as European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) or European green toad (Bufo viridis). The overall goal of the project is to get an overview of the number, species and location of roadkilled vertebrates in Austria and at the same time raise public awareness for roadkill. In two subprojects we hypothesized that (I) data from citizens and hunters regarding the influence of landscape structure on European hare (Lepus europaeus) are complementary and (II) that traffic intensity is a major factor for roadkilled amphibians and reptiles. Therefore we launched the citizen science project Roadkill ( In citizen science projects volunteers are collecting and/or process data. To minimize the expenditure of time and the associated costs in such a multifaceted project, we conducted a testing phase with students in an obligatory course of the Bachelor programme of Environment and Bio-Resources Management at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Austria. We engaged about 200 students in reporting roadkills during their daily routine. Data collection was carried out via an open source mobile app (EpiCollect) that ran on students’ private devices. After three months students provided feedback on the project. Based on this feedback, we developed a new simple online platform together with a student extending the project for all citizens to participate. Because of a major spam attack on our database we were forced to shut down the project and relaunch it in cooperation with a professional web design company in the following season. At you can now enter your data directly or download an App for Android or iOS systems and upload your data via mobile phone. Our project flow showed in the testing phase that the advantage for students in participating in a pre citizen science project is that they can apply their acquired theoretical knowledge and learn in an active way how a scientific project is carried out. They can collect and interpret data by themselves and learn how to evaluate projects. The advantage for teachers is that citizen science project ideas can be tested before they are presented to the public. Preliminary results in our sub-projects suggest that (I) data from citizens and hunters are complementary and that (II) amphibians and reptiles are not necessary killed were traffic intensity is highest.

public participation, wildlife vehicle collision, biodiversity, teaching, higher education