Highway Slaughter: Germany's New Anti-Roadkill Offensive

"The measures work wonderfully on some stretches of road, but not at all on others," Trothe concludes. Now the forestry scientist wants to find out what the segments of road that have high accident counts -- despite reflectors and odor-emitting foam -- have in common. He hopes "it will enable us to provide individual recommendations for each district."

Hunters to the Rescue?

Meanwhile, hunters with the Environmental Hunting Association (ÖJV) would rather solve the problem with their weapons. "Most tenant hunters want a lot of game, so that there is enough there when they happen to have time to go hunting," says ÖJV Chairwoman Elisabeth Emmert. "In hunting grounds like those, there are too many animals." Emmert points out that there is a forested area in the northern part of the western state of Rhineland-Palatinate where an above-average number of deer are shot to protect young trees from being gnawed. "The number of wildlife accidents dropped to almost zero," says the hunter.

"If a hunting ground along the side of a road is attractive, it'll always be popular, even if there are fewer animals there," argues Torsten Reinwald of the DJV. "The main cause of wildlife accidents is the high volume of traffic."

But, says researcher Trothe, "shooting two deer and scraping 20 off the road isn't a very good record." When hunters tell him about the many animal collisions in their hunting grounds, he says that he often thinks to himself: "Then go ahead and shoot something!"

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

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