2010: Health status of roadkill deer in Utrecht province

The Project

Foto: Margriet Montizaan


The number of reported collisions with deer on the roads of Utrecht province in 2009 was higher than in the three previous years (363 in 2009 compared with 222, 224 and 329 in 2006, 2007, and 2008, respectively: Source, Stichting Valwild Utrecht).

The local authorities have requested more information about the occurrence of these incidents (temporal and spatial) in attempt to better understand why they occur and thereby take measures to reduce the number of collisions between vehicles and wild hoofstock. It is possible that general illness amongst these animals may lead to an increased chance of collision.

This project will assess the health status of deer killed on the roads in Utrecht in 2010 and submitted to the DWHC for post-mortem investigation (autopsy, microscopic exam and further testing such as bacterial culture / viral testing when abnormalities are found).


In 2010, post-mortem was performed on 64 roadkill deer and, based on the findings animals were categorized as belonging to one of the following groups:

  • ‘Healthy deer’: healthy animals in which, other than trauma, no abnormalities were observed
  • ‘Deer with incidental pathology’: pathology identified that is unlikely to have increased the chances of a collision occurring
  • ‘Weakened deer’: pathology identified that may have contributed to an increased chance of collision with a vehicle


These results have been presented to the project commissioners (Faunabeheereenheid Utrecht & Provincie Utrecht).