Trillian’s post about seeing a dead opossum got me thinking about roadkill, and how it’s an underutilized resource. Think about it – unless you live close to a decent zoo, roadkill’s really your best chance of seeing wildlife (OK, wild animals, not necessarily live) up close. But you’re limited to local species. While I’ve had plenty of opportunities (not necessarily taken advantage of) to examine opossums, squirrels, coyotes – even a beaver, once – up close, I’ve never had a good look at a porcupine, for example.

It seems to me that there’s an opportunity for an interprovincial species exchange – perhaps an online bulletin board where schools and community groups could post their requirements, and an army of volunteers to source the specimens. There’d have to be standards – I don’t think your average Brownie pack would want to receive their Western Grey Squirrel sample in 5 or 6 ziplock baggies, so we’d want to specify intact carcasses. Perhaps members with extra freezer space could stockpile the more hard-to-find varieties, especially during winter, the prime collection season.

We could call it the Canadian Roadkill Exchange Program. We’d need sponsors – I’m thinking FedEx or UPS, since your window of opportunity is fairly narrow with this type of product. In exchange for free shipping, they’d have the right to use Proud Sponsor of CREP in all their advertising.

I won’t want to leave our American brethren out – they have a lot of cool animals down there, like armadillos, that we just can't get here in the Great White North – and would love to see someone spearhead the formation of the American Roadkill Species Exchange. Volunteers could be called American Roadkill Species Exchange Supporters, and those who got in right at the beginning would be proud to say “We’ve been ARSES from day 1!”