N3TC and Bakwena welcome help from the general public to collect relevant data for these initiatives. Plenty of road users are familiar with the route and drive it regularly. We invite you to support this joint venture by submitting roadkill data to the EWT Wildlife and Roads project team.
Roadkill data can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org or submitted via EWT’s Road Watch app. Visit the iTunes store to download the app. (Road Watch)
Further details can be found on the EWT website: www.ewt.org.za
When reporting roadkill, the following information should be provided:
- Location of roadkill (GPS co-ordinates);
- Identification of species (as best as possible);
- Date and time it was seen; and,
- Notes on the habitat type at the particular section of the route where the roadkill was located (e.g. riverine, grassland, rocky, wetland, etc.) would also be useful.
Good identification photos (particularly if the carcass is very squashed) requires a little bit of attention.
Only stop and take a photo if it is safe to do so, then try and record the following:
- BIRDS: Tail and wing feathers / beak and feet (if the whole bird is no longer there) and eye
- REPTILES: Scales / head shape / foot shape (if applicable)
- AMPHIBIANS: foot shape (webbed) / presence of warts / colouration around head and eye
- MAMMALS: fur / hair colour / body size / teeth type (carnivore or herbivore)
Your support will no doubt help us to protect our wildlife. We do, however, request you not to put your own lives at risk in an attempt to provide information. Always consider your safety and please do not use your phone while driving.
Generate even more data for conservation with the free Africa: Live app.
You can also use the Africa: Live app. to add your roadkill reports, including photos, to our data pool. The free Apple and Android app. – which won the Best Travel App. in Africa Award 2014 – also allows you to report live animal sightings (other than rhino) anywhere in Africa and the crowd-sourced data (more than 70,000 sightings have been added) are shared with lots of conservation groups to support their research efforts. The live sightings map, links to download and lots of more information can be found at www.wildafricalive.com or contact Rob Maclean at email@example.com
TOGETHER we are making our country’s roads safer for both wildlife and road users.
WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR DATA? An update from our data recorder.
Laura Goodman has been a volunteer with the EWT since November 2014 where, amongst her other roles, she is responsible for roadkill data capture. Laura maintains the roadkill database, and rigorously checks and then enters all of our public roadkill data submissions.
As an environmental and GIS specialist with an interest in environmental issues and conservation, Laura is an invaluable member to our team.
Below is an update from Laura of what the roadkill data base is beginning to tell us and how you can assist us further with your submissions.
“We have two databases running for the Wildlife and Roads Project; one for national and regional roads, and the other for protected areas. My role is to enter the roadkill sightings data sent in by the public from across the country, although we do encourage sightings from other African countries as well.
Our database currently includes roadkill submissions from Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya.
I often get more than a raised eyebrow from people when I explain to them what it is I do on my days off each week… that is, to look at roadkill… and I really enjoy it.
Our public sightings database has grown and developed significantly (Figure 1). We also have almost 360 volunteers submitting data to us.
Figure 1: Distribution of roadkill data submitted in South Africa by members of the public (January 2014 – September 2015). NB: Not all roadkill data are submitted with GPS co-ordinates, although approximate co-ordinates are being sourced. This data reflects ~50% of the total submissions.
To date, we have 7992 roadkill sightings (with many more entries still to input) for 375 species (Figure 2). Birds are the most commonly reported (46.12%) followed by Mammals (27.5%), reptiles (19.2%), amphibians (4.8%), invertebrates (1.9%) and insects (0.5%).
Figure 2: Number of roadkill per taxonomic group reported to the EWT roadkill database since January 2014.
The data often comes with many challenges and is never a simple matter of just entering it into the specially designed Excel spreadsheet. I have to check the identity of each species against any photo that is submitted. Sometimes the animal is so badly ‘squashed’ that identification is almost impossible. On a few occasions, the species is misidentified (we have had a werewolf, a few skunks and fallow deer), and sometimes the photos are of a poor quality. I also check that the area that the roadkill reported is within the distribution range for that species.
Ideally we need the information to be as clear as possible, without it being labour-intensive for the volunteer to collect. (See above for how to collect accurate roadkill data and reporting your findings.)
It saddens me to know that so many animals frequently die on our roads, despite them being considered common and therefore not at threat from roads. I also find it most distressing that we have many sightings of ‘rare’ animals (for example, Caracal, Serval, Aardwolf, Striped Polecat, African Civet, Spotted Genet, Cape Porcupine and Honey Badgers) as well as large game, including Impala and Greater Kudu. The sightings of most concern are those reported from our protected areas particularly ‘royal game’ species like Leopard, and even African Wild Dog. This is why our project in protected areas is so important.
Whilst our expanding roadkill database alarms me, it is also encouraging to see how much the word has spread across the country, and that more people are getting involved with the project. Your roadkill submissions really will make a difference in helping us to identify areas of high-impact for roadkill (hotspots) and propose safer solutions for animals to cross, as well as making the roads safer for drivers.”
THANK YOU TO ALL OUR VOLUNTEERS WHO CONTINUE TO SUBMIT THEIR ROADKILL DATA FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY – you really are making a difference on our country’s roads!