Despite the rapid advancements in the field of road ecology, very little research has been done in railway ecology. Basic research, such as railway use by wildlife, is relatively undocumented, albeit very important in understanding the potential negative and positive effects of railways on wildlife and ecosystems. We provide one of the first studies documenting wildlife railway use using motion-triggered cameras along a 20 km stretch of railway in Ontario. Our objectives were to develop a much-needed baseline understanding of railway use by endemic wildlife species, investigate differences in frequency of use among species, compare diurnal versus nocturnal use, and determine if railway use by wildlife was uniform or spatially varied. We found a significant proportion of medium-to-large resident mammalian fauna and several avian species non-uniformly using the studied railway. Some species used the railway as a travel corridor, while others appeared to use it incidentally. Diel and seasonal patterns of use were apparent for many species. Our findings emphasize the importance of species-specific investigations of railway ecology. The collection of baseline information on railway use by wildlife is critical in view of the dearth of available data, and we highly encourage further research in all aspects of wildlife–railway ecology.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited