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Study: Wolves Scare Deer And Reduce Auto Collisions In Wisconsin By 24 Percent

Research Published In Proceedings Of National Academy Of Sciences.

A gray wolf in the forest.
The Natural Resources Board has approved the DNR’s wolf management plan, which does not set a population goal for wolves in Wisconsin. dalliedee (CC BY)

Scientists found that an unconventional way of reducing the frequency of deer-auto collisions could be allowing wolves to roam a landscape.

Because wolves prey on deer and also shift deer behavior, they make crashes about 24 percent less common. The researchers looked at data from Wisconsin and said that wolves reduce deer populations and also scare deer away from linear landscape features, including roads, that wolves often prowl.

The research was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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A prior study found that deer-auto collisions cost more than $8 billion annually in the United States.