If the old drivers are asked to talk about the thrilling memories of driving, then the sudden appearance of animals in front of the speeding car to make people scrambling is a scary clip. The road network, which is an important symbol of modernization, has greatly changed and isolated the habitat of wild animals; the steel body of the car that cannot brake immediately at high speed directly caused many animals to die on the road. Animal death wheels endanger species diversity and threaten people’s safety. In recent years, all walks of life have carried out research on this problem, collected and analyzed relevant data, and continued to find countermeasures.
It used to be called “road pizza” by Westerners.
Roadkill is exactly the phenomenon in which a car runs over an animal on a highway. In view of this, animals killed by horses, carriages and trains, and insects killed by car windshields , are not discussed in this paper.
At the beginning of the 20th century, when automobiles entered human society, the phenomenon of road kills attracted public attention. Back then, roadkill animals were often referred to as “flat meat” or “road pizza,” a description that somewhat masked the bloody side of the roadkill phenomenon. The explosion in the number of cars in the second half of the 20th century dramatically amplified the phenomenon of road fatalities. As the death of animals (especially wild animals) endangers species diversity and threatens people’s safety and economic interests, in recent years, all walks of life have carried out research on this issue from academic, technical and management fields, and collected and analyzed relevant data. , and constantly looking for countermeasures.
The American Humane Society estimates that millions of animals are killed by road kills in the United States each year, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that about 200 people are killed each year in animal road kills. In 2008, the US Federal Highway Administration (FHA) reported that the number of accidents caused by collisions between large animals and automobiles alone was 1 million to 2 million, and the economic loss was about 8 billion US dollars. In 2003, an article in the Polish Journal of Ornithology showed that at the end of the 1990s, about 8.5 million birds were killed on roads every year in Sweden alone. The vulnerability of animals in front of cars is evident.
Florida leopard endangered due to road death?
Many developed countries attach great importance to wildlife protection, but dense cobweb-like roads greatly increase the chance of road fatalities. Taking the United States as an example, the Florida leopard was on the brink of extinction in the early 1980s, and road death was one of the main reasons. It has only recovered slightly over the years under heavy protection; Carnage in traffic. In 2005, an Australian radio program introduced that the Australian state of Tasmania, known as the “natural state”, became the “road-kill state”.
According to the radio program, Dr. Alistair drove 15,000 kilometers in Tasmania to conduct field research in order to study the local roadkill phenomenon. According to his estimation, about 51 species and 113,000 animals are killed by road in Tasmania every year. Considering many Animals struggled to run off the road after being hit and died, which is only a conservative estimate. Compared with the average 5-6km road in other parts of Australia, there is a roadkill animal in Tasmania almost every 3km. Brush-tailed possums and red-necked wallabies are the most vulnerable. Tasmanian devils, popularly known as “Tasmanian devils” (whose eerie screams, dark fur and notorious bad temper led early European settlers to call them “devils”) suffered particularly heavy losses, with local 1.5 % to 2% of Tasmanian devils die in traffic. The study found that the incidence of road fatalities on some road sections is particularly high, with half of road fatalities occurring on 10% of road sections, especially those with steep slopes and poor visibility.
Dr Manner Jones from the University of Tasmania believes that the high incidence of road fatalities is partly a sign of ecological health. But in some cases, roadkill can exacerbate the extinction of certain species, such as the near-extinction of the eastern meerkat in the early 1990s before Cradle Mountain-Lake St. of devils halved in 18 months.
Snowmelt Salt Becomes an Indirect
Killer From the moment they fall, roadkill animals become food for vultures and crows hovering in the sky nearby, and foxes lingering on the ground. In areas where there are many scavengers (animals that feed on carrion), road-killed animals are sometimes picked up by “scavengers” within minutes, and it doesn’t take long to return to nature. But bad things happen from time to time, and a vulture that falls from the sky and pounces on a road-killing animal may soon be a new victim in traffic.
In addition, industrial salt, commonly used in many countries to melt road ice and snow, also acts as a “wildlife killer”. After the snow and ice on the road melts, most of these salts will flow to the roadside along with the snow and rainwater, but a part of the salt will be deposited in the grooves of the roadside vibration belt. The function of the vibration belt is to remind the driver through vibration when the driver deviates from the normal driving position. However, when the residual salt forms hard lumps in the grooves of the vibration belt, wild animals will come to lick it to supplement the salt, and the result can be imagined.
In early 2018, the media said that public works departments across the United States are working to reduce the use of winter salt, and use waste such as beet juice and syrup to increase the safety of road surfaces. If this is the case, the author feels that the “salty party” among animals is saved, and the “sweet party” may become the biggest loser.
Are male drivers more intentional to crush reptiles?
The most astonishing thing is that there are still a small number of road fatalities that are intentional by drivers. The paper “Deliberately Created Vehicle-Wildlife Collision Incident” published in the American “Wildlife Management” magazine disclosed that as early as the mid-1990s, some scholars discovered that many reptiles were found on roads in South Ontario, Canada and other places. Died on a road that vehicles don’t usually travel on, leading to the inference that some drivers deliberately ran over the reptile. The authors of the paper placed items such as fake turtles, fake snakes, and common garbage (such as disposable cups) on the road, recorded the driver’s reactions (hit, missed, and rescued), and analyzed the results and found that there were 2.7 % of drivers deliberately press on the bait, higher than the chance of accidentally pressing it. At the test site they also witnessed several drivers steering the wheel and accelerating towards the bait.
The paper also noted that male drivers were more aggressive than female drivers when it came to deliberately pressing on reptiles, and were more likely to go into “adventure mode,” such as steering toward a decoy with precision.
Countries gradually improve roadkill information systems Since the beginning of
this century, many countries have increased investment in wildlife roadkill management and research.
In 2008, the British Columbia Department of Transportation issued the “National Wildlife Road Kill Identification Guide”, focusing on and protecting the regulars on the list of road kill animals in the region – large carnivores and ungulates, which will be road kill animals. Incorporated into the government’s Wildlife Incident Reporting System (WARS).
Since 2009, the United States has launched the construction of a road-kill animal observation system, recruiting observers with professional backgrounds to provide information such as road-kill animal identification and positioning, and then upload it to the website for public release. For example, the California Road Kill Animal Observation System constructed by the University of California, Davis, uses the collected road kill data to summarize the location, frequency and pattern of road kills, which can improve the driver’s avoidance awareness and predictability when driving.
Since 2012, Cardiff University in the United Kingdom has led the launch of a research project called “Crash Flying”, which collects information on road-killing animals released by the public on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and conducts systematic research.
Road construction in India has been rapid in recent years. Many roads pass through animal sanctuaries, and most roads have no signs to warn drivers. In 2015, an Indian NGO called ECG (Environmental Protection Group) launched the PATH (English acronym for “Keeping Animals Safe on the Road”) research project: a wildlife conservation team led by Mohammad Salim , which took one and a half months, trekked 17,000 kilometers, and studied the killed capuchin monkeys, jackals and desert foxes killed while eating road-killing rodents and birds, etc., and obtained rich first-hand information.
It is more effective to set up “overpasses across the street”
For drivers, the real problem is how to avoid animal road kills and threats to themselves? North American drivers have always regarded deer as the enemy of the road, and the American property insurance company “State Farm” has given practical advice: always stay alert, turn on high beams on unclear road sections; do not swerve to avoid, it is easy to lose control at high speed Roll over and slow down depending on the situation; every year from October to December is the breeding season of deer herds, so be especially careful during this period; when you see a deer, be careful that there may be a herd nearby; the most important thing is to pay attention to the animal signs on the roadside and follow them Speed limit regulations, always fasten your seat belts!
From the perspective of managers, in addition to raising public awareness through publicity and reducing drinking water and food resources near roads, the consensus of all countries in the world is to provide a safe transit mechanism as much as possible, and use cross bridges, underground passages, etc. to allow wild animals to safely cross the road. . In terms of technology, European countries have done better (see the article “German New Technology to Prevent Animal Road Kills” in the October 2013 issue of this magazine), and Canada and the United States have also followed suit in recent years. For example, several states in the United States have put roads into use. The Animal Detection System (RADS) can detect animals within a distance of 200 meters or more according to the terrain, and provide early warning to the driver.
In addition, the clearing of nearby trees during the construction of the road will lead to the fact that the canopy of trees growing in groups will no longer be connected by branches. As a result, arboreal species are forced to cross the road on the ground when moving the area of activity, which increases the Road kill chance. In recent years, in order to protect local wildlife, Kenya, the United Kingdom and Australia have set up active passages between the tree canopies on both sides of the road to facilitate the passage of wild animals such as colobus monkeys and red squirrels. This kind of passage can be regarded as a kind of “overpass across the street”, with flexible form and low cost.
U.S. legislation allows the consumption of road-killed animals
Another question is, what to do after the animals are killed on the road? Moving away as soon as possible is a priority, both to prevent drivers from being distracted and to reduce the risk of killing scavengers. In this regard, many countries have dispatched qualified processing departments to burn them, or transport them to landfills for burial. But others have come up with other ways.
When it comes to the value of roadkill animals, some people’s instinct is to “eat”. But to make roadkill animals into mouth food, you need to go through at least the following three levels.
One is hygiene. Roadkill animals must be kept free of disease and outbreaks. The second is legal. In many countries it is illegal to pull a walking dead animal. In Canada in previous years, roadkill animals could be donated to charities. But in 2009 the Ministry of Natural Resources said it stopped the practice because “the state of health and the cause of death of the animals were not known”. In Alaska, roadkill animals are considered state property, and drivers must report them to the state police or wildlife protection department and give them to charities “as long as they’re not too squashed.” As of 2017, 21 states in the United States have legislation allowing the consumption of roadkill animals.
The third is the cultural barrier. Animals killed by hunting and car crashes have very different places in the hearts of people in some countries and regions. Feeding carnivores with roadkill animals at the Seneca Zoo in New York State is acceptable, but a few years ago, the “New York Times” ridiculed the cashier state legislator’s attempt to legalize the consumption of roadkill animals. Killed animals are still “incapable of mouthing”.
Roadkill animals made into fashion accessories Emma Willetts, a vegetarian
from Aberdeenshire, UK, developed the value of roadkill animals in another way – by peeling off the fur of roadkill animals, Made into fashion accessories. Her freezer is full of roadkill foxes, badgers and hares. Some fur bags sewed by her skillful hands can be sold for more than 6,000 yuan. “It’s a waste to leave these road-killed animals on the side of the road, it’s better to make the most of them,” she said. “I’m just saving them in another way.”