Wildlife and Roads Project


ROAD ECOLOGY

Roads are integral to the continued development and prosperity of South Africa’s economy. However, roads also have the potential to destroy and degrade habitat, as well as fragment wildlife populations. Traffic, particularly when reckless driving is involved, can have a direct negative impact on wildlife, with many species at risk from wildlife-vehicle-collisions, often resulting in an animal’s death, or ‘roadkill’.

A relatively large body of international literature is available on mitigation measures to reduce conflict between road infrastructure and wildlife. However, few of these techniques have been tested for applicability to the species and situations found in South Africa, despite the country’s legislative framework that necessitates environmental impact assessments for development. This is in part due to a lack of understanding of the impacts of road development on wildlife.

Work conducted since 2010 by the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife and Roads Project (EWT-WRP) has accelerated a greater understanding of the impact of road infrastructure on wildlife, and provided potential solutions to minimise wildlife road mortality, resulting in the emerging scientific discipline of Road Ecology.

The goal of road ecology is to provide planners with scientific advice on how to minimise or mitigate negative environmental impacts of transportation. Road Ecology in South Africa is a rapidly emerging field of research for which the EWT is spearheading pioneering initiatives, and being recognised as being at the forefront of this area of research. The EWT-WRP is the only large-scale initiative in the country that tackles the issue of wildlife deaths on our roads head on.

And how can you report for “Brake For Wildlife”

Roadkill data can be emailed to: roads@ewt.org.za or submitted via EWT’s Road Watch app. Visit the iTunes and Playstore store to download.

When reporting roadkill, the following information should be provided:

  • Location of roadkill (GPS co-ordinates);
  • Identification of species (as best as possible);
  • Date and time it was seen; and,
  • Notes on the habitat type at the particular section of the route where the roadkill was located (e.g. riverine, grassland, rocky, wetland, etc.) would also be useful.

Good identification photos (particularly if the carcass is very squashed) requires a little bit of attention.

Only stop and take a photo if it is safe to do so, then try and record the following:

  • BIRDS: Tail and wing feathers / beak and feet (if the whole bird is no longer there) and eye
  • REPTILES: Scales / head shape / foot shape (if applicable)
  • AMPHIBIANS: foot shape (webbed) / presence of warts / colouration around head and eye
  • MAMMALS: fur / hair colour / body size / teeth type (carnivore or herbivore)

Your support will no doubt help us to protect our wildlife. We do, however, request you not to put your own lives at risk in an attempt to provide information. Always consider your safety and please do not use your phone while driving.