In addition to reporting rush hour traffic standstills and vehicles pulled over on motorway hard shoulders, Israeli drivers can now use the Waze navigation app to help save members of the four-legged public.
Ahead of UN World Wildlife Day this Friday, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and Waze launched a joint programme to make use of an existing reporting function on the popular app – the “Roadkill” button. From now on, when Israeli Waze users report a dead animal on the side of the road, SPNI will be harnessing the data to determine the country’s most dangerous spots for wildlife and find solutions for their safe passage.
“The widespread existing network of roads in Israel continues to expand at a fast pace,” said Shmulik Yidov, head of SPNI’s Mammal Centre. “Thousands of kilometres of roads enable us, as humans, to move conveniently from place to place. But what about the wildlife? Transportation infrastructure is a challenge and a danger to a wide array of wild animals.”
Among the animals that face the most dangers on the country’s highways are deer, porcupines, badgers, turtles, hyenas and otters – as they cross the roads often, according to Yidov. Not only are individual animals often killed by cars, but their populations are also becoming fragmented as a result, creating demographic and genetic diversity problems in the long-term, he explained.
By using the “Roadkill” reports filed through Waze, SPNI hopes to rescue thousands of wild animals every year. In January alone, the community of Waze users reported 1,416 such incidents, on both intercity and rural roads.
With the data generated, the organization will be creating a “Red Road Atlas for Wildlife” and taking action to regulate safe crosswalks for animals. Through both observation and the use of surveillance cameras in problematic areas, SPNI representatives said they hope to deepen their understanding as to why these animals are being run over and what steps can be taken to minimise the number of deaths.
Friday, March 03, 2017