Christopher Davies, Wendy Wright, Fiona Hogan and Casey Visintin
The risk of deer–vehicle collisions (DVCs) is increasing in south-east Australia as populations of introduced deer expand rapidly. There are no investigations of the spatial and temporal patterns of DVC or predictions of where such collisions are most likely to occur. Here, we use an analytical framework to model deer distribution and vehicle movements in order to predict DVC risk across the State of Victoria. We modelled the occurrence of deer using existing occurrence records and geographic climatic variables. We estimated patterns of vehicular movements from records of average annual daily traffic and speeds. Given the low number of DVCs reported in Victoria, we used a generalised linear regression model fitted to DVCs in California, USA. The fitted model coefficients suggested high collision risk on road segments with high predicted deer occurrence, moderate traffic volume and high traffic speed. We used the California deer model to predict collision risk on Victorian roads and validated the predictions with two independent datasets of DVC records from Victoria. The California deer model performed well when comparing predictions of collision risk to the independent DVC datasets and generated plausible DVC risk predictions across the State of Victoria.