Aircraft strikes on mammals are increasing

Investigators have published a global review of mammal strikes with aircraft, noting that the events have increased by up to 68% annually. Credit: Samantha Ball

Birds aren’t the only animals that have to worry about airplanes. A new study shows that aircrafts are striking more mammals every year. Researchers conducted a global review on the incidents, which can include terrestrial mammals getting hit on runways as well as bats getting struck in the air. They found that most strikes happened upon landing. In the countries they examined, yearly mammal strikes per million aircraft movements ranged between 1.2 and 38.7. These collisions have increased by up to 68% annually. The mammals most effected varied depending on the area. Bats were the most commonly struck in Australia, while rabbits and dog-like carnivores were hit most often in Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. Bats and deer were struck the most often in the United States. But some countries even reported giraffes being struck. “As strike events can affect everything from passenger safety, airline economics and local conservation, understanding the species composition and ecology of the local fauna at an airfield is paramount for effective strike mitigation,” said lead author Samantha Ball of University College Cork, in Ireland, in a press release.

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