In the Team Blog participants present themselves and their experiences in the project.
My name is Valentin Jaquemar, I am a student at the BG/BRG Tulln and have been passionately involved in many Citizen Science projects since May 2020.
As good as possible I try to go for a walk or a bike ride every day, so that I don't miss anything in nature. Spiders, bees, mushrooms, and plants are among my most frequent photo subjects, sometimes also roadkills. What motivates me is the fight against environmental pollution, climate change, dead animals due to humans and much more that we have to prevent. Here I see Roadkill and other citizen science projects as a good way to improve the world in everyday life.
I started the project because my uncle had contributed significantly to the development of the project. Together with the platform Spotteron, where he works, this project was put on a solid foundation. He himself is always busy collecting data for many projects. I also try to motivate others to participate so that more research can be done, because the way how many animals and climate are treated has to change immediately!
I really hope that through this project more people will become aware of the roadkill problem, that would be really desirable. Or that people simply ride their bikes more often, that would protect the environment and climate.
I think the app and website are very well done, Spotteron has done a great job in my opinion! What I think would be really great is that the number of your own spots should be shown in the profile and that the total number of all spots should be shown on the online map.
Here are a few impressions of my walks:
It's shocking how many animals become traffic victims. Many people kill small and larger mammals such as foxes and martens but also hedgehogs, birds, amphibians and reptiles on their ways and they do not care that they have just extinguished a life. This carelessness makes me very sad. We are not alone in this world and certainly it does not belong to us alone! For me it's a small contribution I make by posting roadkills in project Roadkill and thus maybe contribute a little bit to make the silent, anonymous and invisible death of many animals more visible. The aim must always be to contribute to conservation and road safety measures in the medium and long term.
"Everything is connected with everything"
With his networked thinking, Alexander von Humboldt has understood what makes the world what it is and, more than 250 years ago, gained important insights into climate, nature and animal protection, biodiversity and resource conservation. With enthusiasm and commitment, but with the worst equipment, he climbed the highest mountains, mapped rivers and warned at that time of soil erosion and the consequences of deforestation. The first climate protector! Since then much has changed in our relationship with nature and unfortunately not for the better. Today, nature often only means the scenery with the perfect background for the selfie for event gastronomy, excursion tourism or sports activities. The loss of habitat for fauna and flora is catastrophic, soil sealing is a major problem that is continually ignored by politicians. There are no political initiatives or regulations against the death of insects and birds - largely caused by the agricultural industry. The number of birds is decreasing dramatically. Since 1980, half of the birds in rural areas across Europe, with around 300 million breeding pairs, have disappeared. (Source: www.birdlife.at)
I have decided that I want to make a difference and do something in my sphere of influence, however small it may be, because the less attractive alternative would be to simply capitulate in total frustration before a turbo-capitalist society of one-man-shows.
We bear responsibility for those who are weaker!
From interest to learning and experiencing nature, animals and plants, it is only a small step to their protection. I am convinced of this. Everybody can and should do something - be it in your own garden or on the balcony with the bee meadow and the wild bee box, the nesting boxes under the roof or even a biotope instead of the chlorine pool. But of course nature and animal protection does not end in your own garden. That is why I enthusiastically support projects such as Roadkill, Birdlife Austria and the activities of the Austrian Society for Nature Conservation concerning amphibian protection on the roads in Austria. I believe that the more visible protective measures, such as toad protection fences, are present in public spaces, the more people become aware that we are not alone when we travel. Such projects are a chance to reach young people and to interest them in these beautiful animals, to inform them about their behaviour and, ideally, to motivate them to contribute to active protection. The Nature Conservation Association works with voluntary "toad taxis" who look after the fences and acts as a lobby for the erection of such fences in consultation with the locally responsible communities and road maintenance authorities. Last year we transported with a small team of about four people, more than 1,300 animals (mainly common toads and agile frogs) over a toad migration route at the "Goldenen Bründl" (Oberrohrbach state road towards Harmannsdorf / Rückersdorf, Weinviertel), which was unprotected for many years. We were able to save many of them from certain death in 2019. Also this year we were again in action - for the first time and thanks to the support of the road maintenance department of Korneuburg - on a route that was partially protected by a toad fence. Through the logging and meticulous counting of the dead and rescued animals in 2019, we finally had enough arguments for the erection of this fence. So this is a good example of the practical use of statistics and a testament to projects like Roadkill. But for me personally it is also a nice and important satisfaction not only to take pictures of dead animals and record them locally but also to actively do something that these beautiful and funny animals are not road-killed. Common toads walk up to 13 km to their spawning grounds, the females carry the males, not quite voluntarily "piggybacking". They croak very specifically. Once you have come into contact with nature in this way, you will not let go of this experience so quickly. Unfortunately, especially the toads need up to fifteen minutes to cross the road, which is too often their doom.
I would like to invite everyone to go with open eyes through the neighbourhood, up the mountain, to the lake or into the forest and to look for one or more projects to help nature and animals.
Every life counts!
My name is Susanne Lutter, I worked as a security specialist and part-time in our internal crisis intervention team and have recently retired.
Although I live in Vienna, I like to be near and on mountains, preferably close to Schneeberg, Rax, Schneealpe and the like.
Also in my immediate neighbourhood I have the luck to have a lot of nature around me.
Many different animals live here in the Wienerberg nature reserve - hares, foxes, martens, squirrels, snakes, salamanders, hamsters, mice, birds, fish, etc.
However, many of the animals are often victims of road traffic - as I unfortunately have to see again and again in the local area as well as during my trips to "my" mountains. For a long time I searched in vain for a possibility to do something about it. Some time ago I heard about the Roadkill project on TV. Here one can become active, although the own contribution is also only small.
You may and should also motivate others!
My bike rolls quietly over the smooth asphalt. My chain creaks, the handlebars creak. My blood throbs behind my temple, sweat runs off my forehead and the pedals turn with the pounding of my legs.
My gaze glides madly over the grey surface, the breathing rhythm adapts to the gradient of the way.
10 years ago I started riding my bicycle to work - 15 km, 300 meters altitude difference. After my body was used to the strain, my eyes became more open to my surroundings - I first noticed what was lying around "out there". Thrown away one-way deposit bottles, which collected 25 ct would bring the piece - and many dead animals. I thought how careless my fellow men are with their environment. And tried
to artistically deal with the resources given to me.
That photographing dead animals is a taboo here in Germany, and that paying attention to them at all is frowned upon - I didn't realize it until I did. The result for me is to maintain distance - not a staging of effects, not a play with light, but rather documentary, the view straight from above, the picture plane equal to the underground. The fact that I put a tape measure next to it as a size reference underlines my effort to deal with this subject as objectively as possible.
For when I began to collect for this platform, I directly presented two hypotheses that await their falsification:
1.) fewer and fewer animals are road-killed
2.) the individuals which are killed are getting smaller and smaller.
In order to keep the data as clean as possible, I limit the documentation almost exclusively to my daily way to work. I assume (still a hypothesis) that a constant proportion of animals of the respective population is road-killed, and thus conclusions can be drawn by collecting Roadkill both in quantity and species "diversity".
If I didn't have a quarry near my home, I wouldn't have much to document here in a large German city without large waters nearby - especially not after the blackbirds have stayed away.
A selection of the entries:
My name is Nikolaus (Niki) Filek, I am a biologist, more precisely a zoologist.
The last 8 years of my life I spent in the national park Neusiedler See - Seewinkel, on the one hand as a tour guide, on the other hand as a project employee.
Now I will take a new path, but I would like to reflect retrospectively, because nature in Northern Burgenland will always have a place in my heart.
There were pleasant and less pleasant moments, especially in matters of nature conservation and how this is (not) applied. Even a national park often has no resources available in this so important matter and so I had to quickly realize that my own commitment is in demand.
So what could be done? Many days in the week I commuted with this question on the tongue between apartment door and workplace. Each trip I had to be a sad witness of countless deaths and I could hardly believe it, but field hares, hedgehogs, hamsters, squirrels, martens, deer, countless amphibians & reptiles and various bird species I have meanwhile on my long 'animal death list', not to mention the x thousand insects, which I have on my conscience by driving myself.
I wanted to give something back to the animals and so I found the app 'Roadkill', which I already got wind of during my university career. My aim was to show the daily (or better nightly) fatalities on the L205!
The simple thought was that with at least one fatality a day, something must change!
After all, after the fatal accident of two human road users, a Tempo70 zone was issued on the country road in the shortest possible time. The more than 250 fatal accidents of animals reported by me have so far unfortunately remained without consequences, but that is exactly what I would expect from the project.
It must be possible to install speed limits on certain stretches of road!
I myself am not a particularly slow motorist, but in our rushed and hasty times, perhaps it would not be wrong to take a little speed out of our sails or cars and, instead of trying to be faster, bigger and better, to be a little more considerate and gentle with us and our environment.
It would be important to me if the courageous cooperation of the most diverse actors through this great app also changed the situation! The data should, and indeed must, help to adapt traffic.
We humans must never place ourselves above the rabbit, the frog or the butterfly that we run over... simply run over and leave dead...
I think the project 'Roadkill' with all its passionate members is on a very good way to change something here, to make the world a little bit better.
My name is Werner Reitmeier and I have been on board since the beginning of the project. I made my first entry in March 2014, since then I have been constantly active and have entered over 180 spots so far.
I was made aware of the project by an acquaintance at the time and since I drive the same route almost every day and see animals being roadkilled over and over again, it was obvious to take part in this project. Also beside the project I like to spend time with nature and its creatures. I am interested in orthoptera, macrolepidoptera, ornithology and botany. The focus of my faunistic activities lies in the cooperation with the Orthoptera Atlas of Eastern Austria and the geotagging of species diversity as well as the continuous recording of the local fauna of Gablitz (Viennese forest).
Due to my high activity in the project, I always like to help to improve the apps by reporting bugs or opportunities for improvement. I am pleased that these reports are also well received and, if possible, implemented.
I am Harry, (Harald MARK), Tyrolean, live in Nenzing (Vorarlberg), am 46 years old, married and have two sons. Since my childhood I have been very rooted in nature and therefore an environmental activist for a long time (purely honorary). We have founded a small working group in our town on the topics of environmental and climate protection, sustainability and ethics. I do the public relations and awareness raising for this group. With a handful of great like-minded people I organize lectures, film evenings, school visits, workshops, courses and run a list of local suppliers. In 2014, I also founded a repair cafe in my home community of Nenzing, which I run quite successfully with a highly motivated team of volunteers.
I can't remember how I became aware of the Roadkill project. I believe through a newsletter (Naturschutzbund, naturbeobachtung.at, Global2000, Greenpeace, WWF, Blühendes Österreich,...???). In any case it is important for me to help to show how many animals die pointlessly due to road traffic. And since I travel a lot in nature on foot or by bike, I can make a good contribution here.
I hope that the data will also help to set measures, e.g. speed limits, game bridges, frog fences or similar. With good and a lot of data these "problem zones", where measures are necessary and meaningful, can be determined.
I think the project is on the right track. Other participants should be encouraged to participate through as many channels as possible. And again and again, regularly, reports should be published in radio, TV and print media about the enormous number of roadkilled animals. Drivers and politicians should be asked to take responsibility and be more cautious.
It is important that the website is user-friendly and functions well, which is usually the case anyway. Therefore no big wishes on my part.
My name is Daniela Loidl, I am 45 years old. I work for a film production company that produces nature documentaries. Already in my childhood I was (and still am) very enthusiastic about our nature. Flora and fauna offer so many possibilities to learn, to marvel and to understand the natural connections.
For almost 20 years I have been living in Lower Austria's Weinviertel, commuting many kilometres a year between my home and the Vienna office, and seeing all kinds of animal road traffic victims almost daily. The road that goes through my home also carries its toll of blood, including some of 'my' hedgehogs - nursing cases that I have painstakingly nursed back to health, nursed up or overwintered.
In my estimation, there were always many victims I saw on the road, but they were soon forgotten. In May 2017 I found Project Roadkill - since then I have been documenting my findings. The list of the collected spots shows how frighteningly extensive the dying on our roads is. After more than 3 years with Project Roadkill there are more than 1500 entries...sad facts. But at least the animals did not die completely anonymously.
Whether tawny owl or pine marten, red fox or green woodpecker, grass snake or wood pigeon, bat, field hamster, toad and lizard - they all fall victim to human mobility. Animals even die on motorways and highways that are secured with game fences. Despite a speed limit of 50 km/h (which unfortunately is not respected by many car drivers), the village area is one of the most dangerous places for small animals such as songbirds, hedgehogs, squirrels and green toads. On open country roads you can find mostly Europea hares, pheasants, larger animals. Some stretches of road have turned out to be 'death zones' - on an approx. 800m long road section, which is lined by fields on the right and left side, I found 15 hares during the observation period (...it can be assumed that there were further, undiscovered victims). Also rare, partly endangered species like Hoopoe, Northern lapwing, European otter I already had to include in my protocol. In the mice summer of 2019 I gave up documenting every flat vole - there were too many of them...
The rapid loss of biodiversity is frightening, we humans are in the process of destroying the natural system that keeps us alive. The destruction and the resulting loss of natural habitats, intensive agriculture and forestry, the use of poison, the littering of nature, all these are already factors that make it difficult for our wild animals to survive - roadkill is only part of the problem.
It is to be hoped that the data gathered will in future lead to appropriate measures to minimise or at least reduce the death rate of wild animals on roads - it would be a small contribution to counteracting the loss of biodiversity.
Awareness-raising among many road users would be desirable - driving more attentively, more considerately and above all a little slower would probably mean a few roadkills less.
Alex Hanke lives in Canada and has been adding roadkills to our database for several months.
I am a fisheries scientist and consequently I use data on a daily basis to understand and hopefully increase the abundance of the wild fish populations I help manage. I love the outdoors and nature and I am concerned by the impact man has on wildlife. It has occurred to me on my commute to work that there are a lot of animals killed each year by cars and trucks and that I should start keeping track to see what the impact is and if there are any patterns in the mortality. Project roadkill provided me with a straightforward tool for tracking roadkills and for contributing to the science that may help reduce the unnecessary roadside mortality. The tool could be improved by including wildlife native to my area and by allowing the user to download the submitted data to a file. Because I do not log the roadkill while I am driving, it would be helpful to be able to enter the coordinates manually later. The app should also make note of any local conditions that affect the observed mortality rate like the posted speed limit, roadkill cleanup or deer fencing. I hope the project continues well into the future and that more people support it.
My name is Claus Schindler and I am 52 years old, I am professional photographer in Zwettl (Austria). In 2015, as a volunteer Red Cross employee, I often travelled from Zwettl to Horn with a dialysis patient. This is the route through the Allentsteig military training area, where there was a roadkill to be photographed almost every time.
I think I heard a broadcast on Ö1 about a Brit who was eating roadkills, so I searched the internet.
I think the project is important because it might help prevent accidents. Negative at the beginning was the waiting time until the roadkill was on the map, but this was improved.
In addition to the photographic task, it is motivating to be able to participate in a scientific project on a low-threshold basis.