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Wildlife Road Traffic Accidents – A Biodiversity Research Project


“As a killer of men, the automobile is more deadly than typhoid fever and runs a close second to influenza … not only is the mortality among human beings high, but the death-dealing qualities of the motor car are making serious inroads on our native mammals, birds and other forms of animal life.” (Stoner, 1924)



Wildlife roadkill signal a threat to biodiversity that can have long-term effects on ecosystems (IUCN Red List, 2008). One million animals are killed each year on highways in the United States—these statistics do not account for animals that crawl off the road to die after being hit, and nor do they account for all species (Noss, 2002).

There is, at present, no standardised method for data collection of animals killed on South African roads and so we cannot quantify the threat of roadkill accidents to South Africa’s wildlife.

This project will conduct a critical assessment of  Wildlife Road Traffic Accidents (WRTAs) in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA), monitoring measures to develop an effective standardised toolkit that can be employed to better understand the factors contributing to WRTAs and consequently to assess threats to biodiversity from WRTAs across the country.

 Brown Hyena


 Brown Hyena roadkill




1. To develop a cost-effective and accurate method of monitoring WRTAs, resulting in a standardised tool-kit/protocol for collecting data on roadkill in South Africa.

2. To obtain baseline rates for WRTAs for all  species, in one important conservation area in South Africa, namely the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA).

3. To assess the influence of animal behaviour, habitat type and land use, season, population densities, road physical characteristics and traffic volume on roadkill.

4. To develop recommendations for mitigation that can reduce the impact of road infrastructure on biodiversity, as well as contribute towards possible norms and standards for future road design and improvement.

5. To make recommendations to raise public awareness of WRTAs, and systematic monitoring, through developing “National WRTA Awareness Days”.


Road transects will be driven at standardised intervals in both summer and winter months. Both dirt and tar roads in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA) will be driven (see map). All WRTAs will be recorded, with identification to species level whenever possible.









Figure 1: Map of South Africa  









Figure 2: The study area – Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (GMTFCA)   


This data will be used to develop a toolkit that will then be tested to obtain baseline WRTA rates in the GMTFCA.

Figure 3: Road transects showing tar road (red) and dirt road (blue)
 African Wild Dog
                           African Wild Dog Roadkill       


 Preliminary data (April – June 2010)
4 Comments leave one →
  1. Maris McCambley permalink
    March 16, 2011 3:55 am

    What if animals and people could work together to prevent the death of animals on human roadways? That’s the premise of The Listener, a new ebook published at Smashwords. Published: Mar. 11, 2011. $3.99.

  2. January 9, 2013 12:02 pm

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very vast for me. I’m taking a look forward on your subsequent publish, I will try to get the cling of it!

  3. January 11, 2013 1:30 pm

    You have a cool site over here. I just wanna thank you for all the interesting stuff on it. I’ll follow your blog if you keep up the good work!


  1. Roadkill Do Tell Tales: Macabre, Yet Customary, Research of a Medicoveterinary Entomologist | ESC-SEC Blog

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