Motorists have been warned to watch out for wildlife after new research showed that an estimated one million animals were killed on Britain’s roads every year.
Research for the Post Office also showed that deer accidents alone accounted for injuries to 500 motorists, including over 100 serious or fatal crashes.
Costs for repairs to vehicles involved with animal collisions were estimated at over £17 million, said the Post Office, adding that the ‘peak period’ for wild animal-related road accidents was imminent.
The postal group announced it was working with the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the Deer Initiative to raise awareness of how to avoid accidents with wild animals, and what to do in the event of a collision.
Richard Pennant-Jones, head of motor insurance at the Post Office, said: ‘We want to encourage UK drivers to watch out for wildlife and help reduce the number of collisions with animals and birds by being extra vigilant at key times of the year when animals are migrating and most likely to venture onto the nation’s roads.
‘It’s not just country roads where drivers need to beware of wild animals crossing – each year an estimated 20,000 urban foxes are killed on roads in UK towns and cities.
Estimated figure for urban foxes killed on roads each year
‘Birds are also at risk, with an estimated 10 million killed on the roads each year. Three million are pheasants and for increasingly rare species such as barn owls, a worrying 3,000 juvenile birds are killed by motor vehicles annually.’
Jochen Langbein, who oversees The Deer Initiative’s vehicle collision project, said: ‘Aside from the resulting car repair and human injury costs, collisions with vehicles form the single greatest welfare issue for wild deer in the UK.
‘Around a third of deer hit by vehicles will survive the initial impact but suffer for prolonged periods at the roadside until a qualified person can attend to humanly dispatch or treat them.’
David Wembridge of The People’s Trust for Endangered Species added: ‘Road traffic accidents have a major impact on the population levels of some UK mammals.
‘In addition to the rabbits, hedgehogs, badgers and foxes recorded in our Mammals on the Roads survey, thousands of smaller mammals such as mice, weasels and stoats go unrecorded.’
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