The Increasing Problem of Motor Vehicle Collisions with Animals
Although motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) with animals are a worldwide phenomenon, they have received relatively little attention in the scientific literature. This paper will be based on the issue of MVCs with world animals with a focus on European countries. The objectives of this paper are to: (i) review the current state of knowledge on the issue of MVCs with world animals; (ii) assess the collision rates in different countries; (iii) evaluate the policy and research implications of MVCs with world animals.
2. What is human-wildlife conflict?
Human-wildlife conflict (HWC) can be defined as “a situation where people perceive that wildlife is adversely affecting their livelihoods or safety” (Dolman & Fuentes, 2010, p. 1). HWC can take many different forms, such as crop raiding by elephants, livestock predation by lions, and MVCs with deer. MVCs with animals are a type of HWC that has been receiving increasing attention in recent years.
3. Collision rates in different countries
MVCs with animals are a growing problem in many parts of the world. In the United States, for example, there were 1.5 million MVCs with deer between 1988 and 1997, resulting in 150 human deaths and $1. billion in property damage (Conover, 1998). The estimated annual cost of MVCs with wildlife in Canada is CAD$340 million (Feddema et al., 2005). In Europe, MVCs with wildlife account for 2-5% of all insurance claims, costing €500-700 million annually (van der Ree et al., 2009).
There are several factors that contribute to the high number of MVCs with animals. These include:
– The increasing number of motor vehicles on the road: There are now more than 1 billion motor vehicles worldwide, and this number is expected to continue to grow in the coming years (Freedman, 2015).
– The increasing number of people living in rural areas: The percentage of the world’s population living in rural areas has been declining for several decades, but it is still high at 54% (UN DESA, 2014). This trend is expected to continue as more people move to urban areas.
– The increasing number of roads: The total length of paved roads has more than doubled since 1980, from 65 million km to 140 million km (World Bank, 2016). This trend is expected to continue as more countries develop their infrastructure.
– The changing landscape: The landscape is changing due to factors such as deforestation, urbanization, and agriculture. These changes can fragment habitats and create new roads and other infrastructure that can lead to increased contact between animals and humans (Dolman & Fuentes, 2010).
4. The case of Kibale National Park in Uganda
Kibale National Park is a tropical forest reserve located in Uganda. It is home to a large number of primates, including chimpanzees and red colobus monkeys. The park also has a growing human population living in or near it. As the human population has increased, so has the number of MVCs involving primates. In fact, there have been so many MVCs that the park has had to implement a number of mitigation measures, including:
– Closing roads: The park has closed some roads to reduce the number of MVCs.
– Creating animal crossing structures: The park has created a number of animal crossing structures, such as culverts and overpasses, to allow animals to cross roads safely.
– Conducting public awareness campaigns: The park has conducted public awareness campaigns to educate people about the importance of driving safely and watching out for animals.
5. Policy and research implications
The increasing number of MVCs with animals has a number of policy and research implications.
– Policy implications: The growing problem of MVCs with animals has led to a number of policy initiatives aimed at reducing the number of collisions. For example, in the United States, the Highway Safety Improvement Program requires states to address wildlife-vehicle collisions as a safety hazard (USDOT, 2015). In Europe, the European Commission has funded a number of projects on MVCs with wildlife, such as the COST Action E49 project (van der Ree et al., 2009).
– Research implications: There is a need for more research on MVCs with animals. This research can be used to develop effective mitigation measures and to assess the effectiveness of existing measures.
MVCs with animals are a growing problem in many parts of the world. They can have a number of negative consequences, such as property damage, injuries, and death. mitigating measures, such as animal crossing structures and public awareness campaigns, can help to reduce the number of MVCs.