U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Transportation Research Part D 36 (2015) 160–166


2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Wildlife incidents with aircraft are of concern in the United States as they pose a risk to human safety and economic losses for the aviation industry. Most previous research on wildlife-aircraft incidents has emphasized birds, bats, and ungulates. We queried the Federal Aviation Administration’s National Wildlife Strike Database from 1990 to 2012 to characterize carnivore incidents with U.S. civil aircraft. We found 1016 carnivore incidents with aircraft representing at least 16 species, with coyotes (n = 404) being the species most frequently struck. California and Texas had the most reported incidents and incidents were most likely to occur at night from August to November. Overall estimated damage to aircraft was US$ 7 million. Coinciding with the increase in air traffic, the rate of carnivore aircraft incidents increased 13.1% annually from 1990 to 2012 whereas the rate of damaging incidents remained fairly constant. Due to the increase in carnivore-aircraft incidents from 1990 to 2012, we recommend further research on techniques to increase detection of carnivores and implementation and scheduled maintenance of perimeter high fences for exclusion. Additionally, we recommend increasing patrol of runways, especially during peak incident periods (July–November) and at night (2000–0600 h).

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