Monday 10th February 2003
ISSUED BY THE DEER INITIATIVE
INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED INTO RISING NUMBERS OF CAR COLLISIONS WITH DEER IN ENGLAND AND WALES
Road accidents associated with deer are known to cause several hundred human injuries and some human fatalities on our roads every year. The annual toll of DEER involved in such accidents is estimated at over 30,000 annually in England and Wales, but accurate information on the actual scale of this problem, its geographical distribution and accident black-spots remain lacking.
A new 2-year study by The Deer Initiative is being launched this week supported by The Highways Agency to establish a national register for deer related traffic accidents throughout England and Wales, to assess the circumstances surrounding each incident, and to undertake research into preventative measures at the roadside.
Simon Booth, Director of the Deer Initiative said: Although deer-related incidents are recorded by a variety of organisations, this information is extremely patchy and inconsistent at present. Our regional Deer Liaison Officers will work closely with our partnership organisations to collate past records and maintain more standardised information in future. In addition we are calling on the general public, as well as Insurance Companies and Motoring organisations, to help us by submitting any information on deer related accidents in which they have been involved over recent years or which occur during our initial study period Jan.2003 - Dec. 2004.
The project will be overseen for The Deer Initiative by Dr Jochen Langbein and Professor Rory Putman, both deer researchers with a long-standing interest in this problem.
Dr Langbein said: the increasing numbers of road accidents with deer are a major concern for both public safety and deer welfare throughout Europe. A high proportion of deer which are hit by cars are not killed outright, but instead many have to be put down at the roadside while others escape to die later of their injuries. They also pose a hazard for road users, which aside from human casualties leads to many millions of pounds worth of damage to cars each year. We need better information on the circumstances and locations of deer accidents throughout the country. Together with research into aspects of deer behaviour near roads, this will form the basis for improving the design and deployment of measures aimed at reducing traffic collisions.
Numerous differing methods have been tried to reduce deer accidents with varying degrees of success including deer fencing, wildlife reflectors (deer mirrors or wolves eyes), and audible as well as chemical repellents. However, the best advice for drivers remains: do take note of deer warning signs and do Slow down for Wildlife.
A web-site www.deercollisions.co.uk has been established to enable members of the public to find out more about the project, and how to submit records to the project on-line or by post.
Notes to editors:
i. The Deer Initiative is a broad partnership of statutory, voluntary and private interests dedicated to ensuring the delivery of a sustainable, well-managed wild deer population in England and Wales. Members include Government Agencies, as well as Animal Welfare, Conservation, and Field Sports Organisations details of all partners are shown at The Deer Initiative web-site www.thedeerinitiative.co.uk
ii. The Deer Collisions Research Project is currently funded by The Highways Agency, together with grants from The National Forest Company, The Woodland Trust and the Deer Study & Resource Centre.
iii. Further information is available from the Project Web-site at www.deercollisions.co.uk. Media enquiries should be directed either to Dr Jochen Langbein [Tel. 01984 641366 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org ] ; or to
The Deer Initiative, PO Box 260, Bridgwater TA5 1YG [Tel 0870-774-3677; fax 0870 774 3688; email@example.com]