Wildlife accidents are not only caused by collisions with deer or wild boar. Road traffic is also a deadly danger for small wild animals such as hares, foxes, badgers, otters and martens.
"Small animals are affected much more often than previously assumed," said torsten reinwald, spokesman for the german hunting association. They are involved in every fifth accident. This is what the evaluation of 40.000 data from the association’s animal findings cadastre show that.
Along highways, federal roads or country roads, carcasses of wild animals are often to be discovered – but they have so far remained largely unnoticed by the statistics. Wildlife accidents are only recorded by the federal statistical office when people are injured, which happens in about one percent of all cases. Hunters systematically count the number of large animals killed: according to hunting statistics, a deer, wild boar or roe deer collides with a vehicle every two and a half minutes.
The animal discovery register, which has been in place nationwide since the end of 2016, is intended to help systematically record wildlife accidents and other dead animals. An app is available that can be used to report dead animals. Around 8000 users are currently registered, said reinwald. The app provides a variety of information, such as where the animal was found, the species and the cause of death. "Everyone can help make roads safe for people and animals," said wolfgang heins, DJV presidium member .
The aim of the cadastre is also to prevent accidents in the long term. "Traffic signs warning of wildlife crossings have long been insufficient," says reinwald. Dangers have not been reduced. Drivers merely become accustomed to the system. According to the hunting association, there are dozens of deaths, more than 3,000 injuries and half a billion euros in property damage caused by wildlife accidents each year. For the first time, the cadastre will record found animals nationwide according to uniform criteria, including the exact location, the type of animal and the cause of death. Partly also photos are uploaded.
Scientists at the university of keel evaluate the data and determine accident blackspots. "We hope to minimize dangers for humans and animals," said reinwald. Small mabages were often enough. Roadside verges should not be planted too densely with bushes or trees, for example, so as not to obstruct motorists’ view of approaching wildlife. Grasses and herbs that animals don’t like to eat should also be seeded.
April and may, as well as october and november, are the months with the highest number of collisions over the year. According to this, the weeks during the changeover to summer or winter time are particularly problematic for forest animals. Car drivers had to be prepared for this particular danger: among other things, allow for a longer braking distance or honk their horns.