The phenomenon of wildlife road kills is a widespread problem that endangers biodiversity in all areas with high densities of roads and cars. In Europe, this problem is growing increasingly severe, alongside an increase in road infrastructure and traffic. In Italy, some sporadic and local attempts to address this problem have been made. But such activities have been restricted to monitoring the problem and implementing traditional methods, not applicable on a wider scale. In a few cases, specific scaring devices have been used to deter animals, but they have not always produced effective and successful results. Moreover, driving behaviour is often neglected when addressing methods for collision prevention. Finally, the legal framework is vague and unclear; and local institutions generally do not have internal standard procedures, or trained staff able to deal with the problem. This complex and unclear situation calls urgently for adequate technical solutions and for integrated procedures that provide the basis for adequate management of the issue.
The general aim of this project is to develop and disseminate, at national level, the necessary tools for the management of traffic-wildlife collisions. The species targeted are all the medium-large size wild animals (over 5 kg) present in the project areas, some of which are included in Annex II of the Habitat Directive (e.g. wolf) More specifically, the project aims to:
- Develop and disseminate new tools for the management of traffic-wildlife collisions in three Italian regions (Umbria, Toscana and Marche) and five provinces. A new, interactive system will both warn drivers and deter wildlife from crossing roads at critical times;
- Test the system on 10 km of provincial roads that are under the jurisdiction of the project beneficiary and partners;
- Develop a management and monitoring protocol for the traffic-wildlife collisions that will identify the best strategy for the long-term management of the project infrastructure; and
- Approve, test and officially ratify the management and monitoring protocol for traffic-wildlife collisions.
The main quantified expected results are:
An effective technical tool for the reduction of traffic-wildlife collisions;
A decrease in the number of collisions between vehicles and medium-large wild animals on 10 km of roads;
A management protocol adopted by three regional and five provincial administrations; and
Increased awareness of the collision prevention system, involving at least 70% of the Italian regional administrations and 50% of the municipalities in the project provinces.