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Better ecological corridors and fewer accidents involving animals on Swiss roads

May 27, 2013 / CIPRA Internationale Alpenschutzkommission
The Federal Council has drawn positive conclusions as regards the status of ecological corridors in Switzerland. A pilot project has tested how to successfully reduce collisions between animals and cars. The upcoming research field of landscape genetics provides new insights for the planning and implementation of ecological networks.
Image caption:
Many car drivers intentionally kill small animals - this is the surprising result of research by an environmental sciences student from the USA. © traccePiccoli0021
On average the Swiss wildlife corridors of national importance are in good condition. Only 20 of over 300 corridors have deteriorated, mainly because of increased traffic on national roads. All cantons are aware of the national corridors and most of them have developed concepts to improve and integrate them into their planning documents at cantonal level. The corridors are not yet sufficiently considered at municipal level, however. The highways corporation and the Office for the Environment are checking four important corridors to see if improvements to these migration routes can be treated as an urgent priority.
The prevention of accidents involving car and wild animals has been the focus of a recently concluded project. 10,000 acoustic warning devices were installed on particularly dangerous sections. This significantly reduced the number of animals killed - in some cases by up to 40% compared to the previous year. The project was a joint effort between the Swiss Insurance Association, the hunting and animal welfare associations and several cantons.
The Swiss research institution WSL is active in the field of landscape genetics. This upcoming discipline allows the dispersal of animals and plants to be related to landscape elements such as barriers. A study of red deer for example found that, in the canton of Aargau, highways represent the main barriers.

Sources and further information: (de, fr, it), (de, fr), (de), (de)