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One hundred and twenty nine roadkills over 12 days………

March 8, 2011

 

1.     OVERVIEW AND STUDY AREA

The project is finally underway and we have begun conducting transects to detect the number of roadkill on the roads in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA).

The transect encompasses 67.1km of tar road all with differing road utilisations.

The boundary of the De Beers Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve has provided an ideal transect (Map 1). The northern tar road (R572) encompasses traffic destined for Musina, the Zimbabwan border, Mapungubwe National Park and Vele Coalmine. The Western boundary has a combination of toruism vehicles destined for the Botswanan border as well as the northern access road, whilst the southern tar road, is predominantly used by traffic for Venetia mine.

As well as recording all roadkill detected, surrounding fence type, vegetation, grass height, and environmental characteristics are also recorded.

The intention is to drive consecutive days to not only assess roadkill rates but also to examine roakdill decomposition rates as well. This report provides a simple breakdown of our findings over a 12-day consecutive day period.

1.     RESULTS

 

Figure 1 shows the total number of roadkill detected over a 12-day period, and then what had been removed by the next day. All roadkill has a ‘shelf-life’ on the road through natural decomposition or scavenging. It is the latter that is of interest, and ‘what’ exactly is removing the fresh roadkill by the next day. Many species, I suspect, are naturally scavenged, however, a questionnaire will assist me with this information in identifying what is being removed for bushmeat, trophy or muti. An example of removal occurred before me. A juvenile warthog was hit by a truck in front of me. I stopped my vehicle to check the warthog was dead, and as I stopped, another car drew up alongside me and asked me what I was doing. When he discovered I was conducting a roadkill project, he asked if he could have the warthog as they were very tasty. I have since ‘lost’ another warthog by thenext day as well as an African Civet, which was in beautiful condition (B5).

 Figure 1:

Figure 2 provides a breakdown of how many roadkill were detected each day with the removal rate. Figure 3 gives a more specific breakdwon of roadkill detected over the 12-day period, and what species were removed by the next day. All roadkill is given a rating based on its condition, with ‘A’ equalling a ‘fresh’ hit, whilst ‘B’ indicates a flat body. ‘Five’ is the freshest, whilst ‘one’ is dry remains only. So, for example my warthog that was hit in front of me was a ‘B5’. (See pictures 1 -4)

 

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