Mortality of wildlife on SA’s roads continues. Now for the first time there is a handbook: ‘The Road Ahead: Guidelines to mitigation methods to address wildlife road conflict in South Africa’ developed by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) which will provide the reader with pertinent information to reduce impact on wildlife habitats, solutions for improved driver safety and 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. 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 transport operators, 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,” says 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”.
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 the following website:
The EWT’s Wildlife and Roads Project is supported by Bridgestone SA, N3 Toll Concession, Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concession and TRAC N4.