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.