Georgia Journal of Science


Cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus, Sylvilagus aquaticus, Sylvilagus palustris) are a common component of the mammal fauna of the southeastern United States, yet their numbers have been in decline for at least the past 40 years. Urban sprawl, land use changes, forest maturation, and increased predation have contributed to the decline in Georgia. In the current study we explore the proposition that long-term changes in roadkill frequency track changes in wildlife populations as a whole. Using comparisons of historical data collected by Georgia Department of Natural Resources personnel and recent roadkill census data from Baldwin County, it appears that the overall decrease in the rabbit population is paralleled by a decrease in rabbit roadkill frequency in central Georgia. Using this approach, additional roadkill studies may provide reliable estimates of population trends for other commonly observed wildlife in Georgia.