Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) Launch National Public Roadkill Survey

By 5 years ago
Categories Limpopo

Recently GVI attended an EWT conference at the Johannesburg Country Club hosted by Wendy Collinson from their Wildlife & Transport Progamme. We were invited to attend because Wendy actually came to South Africa as a volunteer at one of our previous wildlife research projects at Vanetia, Limpopo.

She is addressing the fact that in Africa there is very little data, or even methods for analyzing roadkill impacts at the moment. Despite the fact that we have the 18th largest road network in the world, there is virtually no money spent on mitigations measures to protect our wildlife due to lack of data. Mainly nocturnal animals are being affected, such as Civets and Nightjars especially, probably being blinded by people’s car headlights. However, animals of conservation concern are also often affected; Wild Dogs seem particularly susceptible – 4 deaths occurring in Kruger last month, 7 in the Waterberg last year, as well a very recent on Balule North.

Wendy is trying to identify roadkill hotspot areas across South Africa in the first stage of the study, so that potential mitigation can be planned – examples which have been used in other countries include rope bridges, underpasses, overpasses etc. They will then investigate the characteristic features of these hotspots to see if there is anything that can be managed to reduce roadkill impacts such as burning, planting vegetation, modifying fencing etc or which might relate to the type of mitigation measure would be appropriate to install.

The main envisaged power of this initiative will be public participation to collect enough data about the entyre country’s road network. A smart-phone App will available soon through the EWT’s website to promote data collection by allowing people to send in photos of roadkill from location. This will eliminate observer error as identifying roadkill is not always the easiest of jobs!

Wendy has also had a lot of help with data collection from GVI volunteers for her pilot studies leading up to having her project being incorporated into the EWT’s Wildlife & Transport Programme. Some initial findings from the pilot study around the Mapungubwe National Park area are that reduced road proximity to fencing, higher grass heights/densities and open areas are significant (ie more roadkill incidences). Interestingly, traffic density was not a significant factor of elevated roadkills – this data only represents one comparatively small area of South Africa, but it could suggest that vehicle disturbance levels force animals to seek less busy alternatives.

For more info: www.ewt.org.za

Report injured wildlife to +27 11 372 3600

Jamie Sangster (Karongwe PGR Science Coordinator)