Why on earth is somebody spraying pink paint on roadkill in North Dakota?

I saw it firsthand myself this past weekend as I drove to and from Fargo on Interstate 94 to watch my son run the Fargo Marathon.  I had to look twice to make sure my eyes weren't playing tricks on me.

I saw some chatter on social media claiming the pink spray painting was to mark animals to be picked up.  As it turns out, that is incorrect.

I decided to pick up the phone and reach out to a friend of mine who is in law enforcement to see what exactly was going on.

He told me this is a joint study between the North Dakota Game and Fish, the North Dakota Department of Transportation, and the University of North Dakota.

What is the purpose of this pink roadkill painting? To monitor the frequency of vehicle and animal collisions.

The study also hopes to identify potential trouble areas of the state where animal and automobile collisions occur most often.

People working on the study enter roadkill data such as GPS coordinates and species of the animal hit by a vehicle.  They mark the animals with pink livestock to avoid counting the animals twice.

According to an article in the Grand Forks Herald concerning this subject, 5% of all vehicle crashes nationally involve wildlife.  That number is much higher in the state of North Dakota as 18% of collisions involve animals.

Who's funding this project?

The North Dakota Department of Transportation.  It's being conducted by a couple of UND graduates who put on a lot of miles doing it. Up to 700 miles a day.  Virtually the entire state is being monitored.

How long will this study take place?

The survey will continue through the end of July.  It will resume again in October and run through December of 2024.

Beautiful North Dakota home found full of dead animals.

Gallery Credit: John Seil

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