Naturalists to suggest how to better protect migrating birds and bats from cars on roads.

Fatal collisions between animals and moving cars are becoming more and more frequent. Unfortunately, more than 10% of bird and bat populations die on the roads. Researchers from the Faculty of Science at Masaryk University have now embarked on a project that could significantly change this disagreeable trend. The aim of the project is to create an electronic map of high risk areas and to design effective protective walls along the roads.

15 Feb 2024 Leoš Verner Tomáš Bartonička Kevin Francis Roche

Although we often see different types of protective wall along roads (much more often in neighbouring Germany than the Czech Republic), there is still little evidence of their effectiveness. To address this, scientists will investigate the behaviour and activity of birds and bats when flying over different types of protective wall as part of the project ‘Preservation of safe migration corridors for flying vertebrates along the Bohemian-Saxony border’. Based on the data obtained, they will be able to recommend walls that provide the most effective protection against collisions.

Unfortunately, more than 10% of bird and bat populations die on roads. Photo: Tiina Mäkalä

“The main goal of the project, which will last until the end of 2026, is the protection of biological diversity along migration corridors at the Bohemian-Saxony border. Through biological research, the creation of a database and an electronic map of risk areas and the testing of appropriate protective measures, we are aiming to minimise the negative impacts of new roads and increase the capacity of existing roads”, Tomáš Bartonička, the main researcher of the project and head of the Vertebrate Research Department at the Masaryk University’s Faculty of Science, explained.

The system for recording collisions with wild animals in the Czech Republic is called and is managed by the Transport Research Centre (CDV). Source: CDV

An important part of the project, which is co-financed under the Interreg Czech-Saxony programme (2021–2027), will be a bilingual publication containing recommendation for road managers and nature protection authorities dealing with the risks of road crossings with biocorridors along the Czech-German border. The results of the field investigations will be used to produce an electronic map of other important crossings as part of the so-called ‘green and grey’ infrastructure. In the second half of 2026, bilingual seminars will be held for regional officials, nature protection authorities and road managers, where they will be introduced to the results of the study, all of the documents and how they can be best used.

More details on the project are available in the press release.

Project: Preservation of safe migration corridors for flying vertebrates along the Bohemian-Saxony border

This project, which will run until the end of 2026, is being financed by the European Union to the amount of approximately EUR 752 thousand under the Interreg Czech-Saxony programme (2021-2027), priority axis 2: Climate change and sustainability. Masaryk University (Faculty of Science) is the lead partner of the project, with the Transport Research Centre, v.v.i., Brno and Senckenberg and Gesellschaft für Naturforschung as cooperative partners. The strategic partners are represented by the Directorate of Roads and Motorways ŘSD, Karlovarský, Liberecký KÚ and Sächsischen Landesamtes für Umwelt LfULG.

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