Roadkills pose a lasting threat

Streets in South Africa pose a serious threat to animals living in the country. Animals collide with vehicles over and over again. Often, a so-called “roadkill” happens, which is responsible for the death of those animals. In most cases, local media does not talk about that topic and worries are very limited. In 2014, Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) started a project which is supposed to help prevent such fatal collisions.

The project contains extended data collections and evaluations of vehicles and their speed as well as their driver. The project was tested in Pilanesberg National Park in 2014 for the first time. In Pilanesberg National Park many zebras and leopards are killed by car accidents each year. In 2015, research started in Addo Elephant National Park. The research consisted of placing snake dummies on the streets and to observe how drivers would handle the situation and which speed was used driving towards the snake. Results showed that 50% of the drivers recognised the snake too late or not at all and ran them over eventually. The research made clear that the driver’s attention had a significant role while the speed of the vehicle did not at all. As a result, the project Drivers Awareness Campaign was started which aims to stress the importance of driving consciously to park visitors and to show possible results for wildlife. Different methods are supposed to help drivers understand that there are animals getting lost on the streets all the time.

The project is also done in Hluhwe iMfolozi Park co-working with the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Furthermore, the project arrived in Table Mountain National Park. Future plans would like to introduce the project to Kruger National Park. Here, SANParks and the University of Mpumalanga are supposed cooperate in the project.

According to EWT it is crucial to develop an awareness of the consequences of streets to wildlife and to find solutions to significantly reduce negative effects. The EWT uses an app called Road Watch to gain and submit information faster. For a broad result, there will be volunteers and local scientists participating in the project.

Source: 24.08.2016

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