Although it’s not one of the most popular conservation topics, the fact is that in many areas of the world, a lot of wildlife is struck by cars on highways and killed. This not only results in the death of many wild animals, but it also causes millions in damages to cars around the world and injuries (or even deaths) to drivers, as well.
One innovative project in Australia, where roadkill is a bigger problem than in many other areas, seeks to address the problem in a creative, scientific manner. It involves a “virtual fence” system that will actually alert animals when vehicles are on the way, preventing accidents.
How does it work? Well, a system of interconnected small alarm units will be placed along the edge of the road, about 80 feet apart from one another. As the alarms detect a car, they start to set off sirens and flashing lights further down the road in order to discourage animals from approaching and scare them off long enough for the cars to pass.
If you’re wondering whether the virtual fence units will distract drivers, don’t worry. The units will be faced away from the road in order to keep the units from bothering drivers as they pass.
“The virtual fence technology involves small devices, approximately the size of a mobile phone, mounted on a pole on the side of the road which are triggered by car headlights when they hit a sensor in the device,” said researcher Samantha Fox. “This sets off blue and yellow flashing lights and a high pitched siren. These together warn local wildlife that a car is coming, and give the animal time to move away from the road.”
The system was previously tested on a road in Tasmania, where it reduced roadkill rates by an amazing 50%.