FIRST NATIONAL GUIDELINES FOR REDUCING WILDLIFE MORTALITIES ON ROADS

With many wildlife species coming under increasing pressure from human development, there is a need for guidance around the planning of environmentally sustainable transport infrastructure. Developed by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), “The Road Ahead: Guidelines to mitigation methods to address wildlife road conflict in South Africa” is the first handbook that offers key information for reducing the impacts of wildlife habitats and roads, and provides solutions for improved driver safety and the conservation of biodiversity and the environment.

On a daily basis, an average of 45 people die and 410 are injured on roads in South Africa; that’s a staggering 18,000 road deaths a year, giving South Africa one of the highest death rates in the world, according to figures from the Medical Research Council. The Council for Scientific Research says road crashes cost South Africa R309 billion each year, and whilst we send our condolences to the many people who have died on our roads, what isn’t widely publicised, is the fact that wildlife is also significantly impacted on by road collisions. Insurance claims suggest that approximately R82.5 million is paid each year against collisions with wildlife, though the biodiversity costs of these collisions are never calculated.

The EWT strongly believes that by working with relevant stakeholders within the transport sector, it is possible to design infrastructure, and support services that ensure the safety of both transportation users and wildlife. Furthermore, such infrastructure should support the economic needs of the country by enabling the goals of the National Infrastructure Plan (2012) and the National Development Plan (2013), namely:

“South Africa belongs to all its people and the future of our country is our collective future. Making it work is our collective responsibility. All South Africans seek a better future for themselves and their children…Drawing on our collective successes and failures as a nation, we need to do more to improve our future (National Development Plan 2030, 2013).”

The Road Ahead: Guidelines to mitigation methods to address wildlife road conflict in South Africa” is intended for use by a range of stakeholders including road development agencies, environmental assessment practitioners, decision-makers such as the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Transport, and research institutions. “October is Transport Month in South Africa, and emphasis is placed on the safety of all road users – that includes the safety of you, your family and friends, and our wildlife,” states Wendy Collinson, the EWT Wildlife and Roads Project Executant. “The EWT is therefore championing Transport Month as a platform for the launch of its handbook”.

handbook

Neil Tolmie, CEO of the N3 Toll Concession, and author of the handbook’s foreword, adds, “The environment cannot be neglected by any segment of society; the world is in need of global leaders pioneering new development processes and techniques that will ensure a balance between development and environmental preservation and conservation. We are, every one of us, responsible for the world we live in.”

Copies of the handbook can be downloaded from our website at: https://www.ewt.org.za/WTP/WTP%20handbook%202016.pdf

The EWT’s Wildlife and Roads Project is supported by Bridgestone SA, N3 Toll Concession, Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concession and TRAC N4. For further information please contact Wendy Collinson on wendyc@ewt.org.za

Wendy Collinson
Project executant: Wildlife & Roads Project
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Tel: +27 11 372 3600
wendyc@ewt.org.za

Constant Hoogstad
Manager: Wildlife & Energy Programme & Wildlife & Roads Project
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Tel: +27 11 372 3600
constanth@ewt.org.za

Belinda Glenn
Communication and Brand Manager
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Tel: +27 11 372 3600
belindag@ewt.org.za

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