Roadkill statistics to be monitored

Boring car journeys can be enlivened by an alternative version of I-Spy one that serves a useful research purpose in recording wildlife populations.

The Peoples Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) has launched its Mammals on Roads survey in time for summer holidays, and invites families or groups travelling together to record the wild animals alive or dead they see from the car.

‘Some one million mammals are killed on roads each year, so it’s a sad fact that many of recordings will fall into the latter category,’ says PETA’s chief executive Jill Nelson. ‘But the extent of road kill spotted for each mammal is related to the number of them in the wild, so it’s important that we monitor these trends.’

The survey started in 2001 as a hedgehog watch. Hedgehogs remain the second-most frequently seen mammals on roads (19% compared with rabbits at 49%), but, during the first four years of the survey, sightings dropped by 7.5% each year, a greater rate of decline than that assigned a ‘red alert’ by conservationists. Badgers (4.4%) and small mustelids (otters, weasels and so on, 1.6%) are the other animals most often seen deer feature surprisingly little.