In Project Roadkill you can participate in a scientific project with the aim to reduce roadkill. In this project we investigate, which animals are killed on roads and which factors are influencing roadkills. Your data allows us to identify roadkill hotspots. Our vision is to mitigate those hotspots in cooperation with local authorities.
The United Nations adopted the Agenda2030 for Sustainable Development in October 2015, listing 17 goals and 169 targets. With this agenda, nothing less than the world is to be transformed and this in an economic, social and environmental dimension.
These Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are designed to stimulate action in areas of vital importance to humanity and the planet as a whole, from ending hunger and poverty to tackling climate change the promotion of peaceful, equitable and inclusive societies, to ensure economic, technical and social progress in harmony with nature.
We think that citizen science and the Roadkill project are particularly suitable for contributing to the achievement of specific goals.
We can imagine being able to contribute to the following goals with the Roadkill project:
This is an extremely complex target where we see especially our scientific work as essential by using the collected data and additional projects to analyse the influence of roads and road traffic on vertebrate animal populations, focusing on endangered species. Only with this knowledge can we set concrete and meaningful measures to reduce a possible negative impact of roads and road traffic.
By collecting data on roadkilled vertebrate species in general and species listed in the IUCN Red List (https://www.iucnredlist.org/) in particular, and by forwarding such data to public authorities project Roadkill can contribute to the indicator of SDG 15.5 “Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020 protect and prevent the extinction of protected species” and to SDG 15.9 “By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts” by providing data.
Of course, we are aware that through our project we can only make a small contribution to achieving global SDGs, but we would like to try our best to make our planet a bit more sustainable. In our view the cooperation of the public with representatives of science at eye level makes it possible to be able to reach the extremely complex global goals of the United Nations step by step from a local to a global level.
In Project Roadkill, which is coordinated by the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, you can participate in a scientific project with the aim to reduce roadkill. In this project we investigate, which animals are killed on roads and which factors are influencing roadkills. Your data allows us to identify roadkill hotspots. Our vision is to mitigate those hotspots in cooperation with local authorities.
Roadkills are all animals killed on roads. In most countries, official data on roadkills are only available for huntable wildlife. In the year 2012, amongst others 24852 European hare, 36865 Roe deer, 1414 European badgers were killed on roads in Austria. However, there are no data available on the effects of roads on non-huntable wildlife or red list species such as European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) or European green toad (Bufo viridis).
Habitat fragmentation by roads has a severe impact on many animal species, particularly for those with high mobility or seasonal migration behaviour, such as mammals or amphibians. As a consequence, roadkill is one of the main reasons for the decrease of populations of several animal groups. Compared to a human flat, habitat fragmentation is like a road right in your corridor, seperating your living room from your kitchen.
Animals cross roads when foraging, in mating season (like deer, which cover long distances in search for a mating partner in autumn) or changing from winter to summer habitat (like amphibians). Species which migrate over long distances are especially affected by roadkill.
Humans are also affected by roadkill. For drivers animals on roads are a great danger and most people are stressed because of the ethical burden when killing an animal. Not only accidents with big animals like deer or wild boar are causing damages to persons and/or property, also small animals like hedgehogs or toads can lead to damage because of evasion or breaking maneuvers.
Our aim is to minimize the number of roadkills as much as possible by finding the influencing factors.
The first step is getting an overview of the numbers and distribution of roadkills. The use of citizen science makes it possible to investigate large areas and determine when (weather, season, ...), where (forest, urban area, field, ...) and on which streettype, what kind of animal species is killed.
The second step is to identify roadkill hotspots and mitigate those hotspots in cooperation with local authorities and NGOs.
Our vision is to warn drivers of roadkill hotspots (road sections with a high density of roadkills per year) according to location and season by implementing our data in satnavs.
With the project Roadkill, we want to sensitize participants to roadkill and habitat fragmentation and to include the public's expertise in when and where roadkills happen.
The participation in the project Roadkill is designed in such a way that both the first steps in the project and the participation are as easy as possible. You only need a username and password to register and you can enter your data via apps for iOS and Android smartphones or simply via your internet browser. Our website and apps are developed by Spotteron. If you already have an user account in a Spotteron app, you can also use it in our online entry form or in the apps.
In advance of using our Spotteron App, you have to register or login. As described above, we only need a username, email and password for registration or your existing Spotteron account. If you are on the road and find a dead animal, which was killed by a vehicle, just report it via App or online form. You can do this right at the location or you make yourself a note and report at home using your desktop computer.
Even now you can do a lot to avoid road kills. For example, it is a widespread misconception that amphibians survive by taking them "between the tires" with your car. Velocities over 30 km / h can already lead to the death of the amphibians, due to the vacuum under the car their lungs can burst.
If you want to be more active in the protection of frogs, toads, newts etc. on the road, you are sure to find an association near you which is working with amphibian protection fences along the roads and looks forward to your help. Contact your local museum to find out more about these associations.
Most road-kills with game animals happen during twilight, drive very carefully here and pay more attention to the edges of the road. The signs "Deer crossing" show particularly vulnerable spots and should be taken seriously, even if you have never seen a game there.
Everyone can participate in the project. The only prerequisite is the registration on www.roadkill.at and an Internet access. An advantage (but not a prerequisite) is a certain knowledge of vertebrate species.
You can participate in the project in two ways: using your smartphone or our online form.
All entries are displayed immediately on the map.
Your entries in the Roadkill project are displayed in the interactive map and are accessible to everyone. The raw data are only accessible to project team members with administrative rights and are stored on the servers of the Citizen Science platform SPOTTERON. A transfer to third parties is anonymised (without any user information) and only for scientific purposes or for the purpose of the public (for example feeding in navigation devices). The Roadkill project does not pursue any commercial objectives. Personal data are strictly confidential and will not be passed on to third parties. Full rights of use on the photos of the entries are granted to the project. When using a photo as part of project activity, we always specify the originator (Username or DisplayName).
We are currently working for you on an online identification guide. You can already find some information on species here. Until the online help is completed, we ask you to identify the found animal by means of your knowledge or by means of a determination book. If you are not sure about the species, simply enter the class or tick the "Classification unsure" button. In general, a rough but correct identification is better than a specific but wrong identification.
Remember the location, time, animal and individual number. Enter the data in the database at home or at the next stop. Don’t risk your or other persons health to enter data.
Do not add any spots while you are at the wheel. Do not take a photo on unclear road sections. Always pay attention to road traffic and do not risk anything to enter a new spot! Your safety always comes first!
Since projects in this area of research can only be successful when conducted over several years, no project end is planned. Ongoing analyzes, diploma theses, etc. are carried out.
We understand our project team as everyone who contributes to the project. Of course our Citizen Scientists are in the center of attention, because without their data reports, the discussions about the recorded animal species and the improvement suggestions for the apps, website and the method itself, the project would not be possible. Some of our Citizen Scientists are also presented in our team blog:
In addition, there are people in the project who contribute significantly to the success, be it through programming and designing the website and apps or through scientific work. We are happy to have such a great team and that it is constantly growing and becoming more diverse due to our Citizen Scientists.
| Daniel Dörler