Drivers Kill Over A Million Animals Yearly In Ontario & This Cute Species Is Most At Risk

You can't blame them for being slow.

Toronto Associate Editor
​Car driving on a highway lined by trees in Ontario.

Car driving on a highway lined by trees in Ontario.

Some of you are lucky enough to see animals, amphibians, reptiles and more while driving around Ontario. But unfortunately, those picture-perfect moments of catching the animals in the wild aren't always so pretty because, apparently, drivers kill over a million animals every year in the province.

If you were to think about the most at-risk animal trying to make its way from one side of the road to the other, who would you think of? A goose, deer, raccoon, chicken, maybe?

Well, according to a study done by a University of Toronto fourth-year undergraduate student, the most animal at threat from drivers in Ontario is a frog! Ribbit, ribbit.

Nicole Regimbal conducted a study and analyzed the amphibian population and mortality data at 23 locations across the GTA to figure out the high-risk zones.

Apparently, frogs are vulnerable because they move slowly and they cross Ontario roads a lot to go from one habitat to another. What makes things interesting is they are cold-blooded, which is why they are attracted to the warmth of the roads.

Regimbal wanted to find the best places to have "eco-tunnels," or "eco-passages," which basically help animals safely cross the road by going under the street, rather than walking on it.

"We wanted to see whether the species present in the area were the same as the species that were experiencing mortality," she added.

Jonathan Ruppert, a collaborator on the project and senior research scientist with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), said the new data will help build new "eco-passages."

"It's our first big case study within our jurisdiction to show that species are using them – and not just reptiles and amphibians, but mammals as well," Ruppert added.

Knowing that these tunnels could potentially protect animals from getting killed could significantly contribute to the ecosystem.

"I sometimes find myself overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems we face. But this work felt meaningful as a first step to implementing measures that can have very positive impacts," Regimbal added.

Actually, it was reported that road fatalities are the "second greatest threat" to many at-risk species in Ontario after habitat loss. Poor innocent souls!

So drivers, stay cautious when driving on the streets of Ontario because frogs are important too. You can't have a princess without a frog, right?

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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