- Written by Gus Jones
- Category: Debates
- Published: 02 November 2013
Warnings have been given about traffic accidents involving deer see http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/highland-motorists-warned-of-deer-collisions-risk-1-3158107. It is not just deer that fall victim to busier roads and roads without safe crossing places. In Badenoch and Strathspey we have a special responsibility for some species that are vulnerable to road traffic accidents. These include wild cat which is critically endangered in Scotland and otters which are one of the features of the River Spay and Tributaries Special Area of Conservation. More frequently observed victims include red squirrel and badger. The full casualty list is long and includes brown hare, pine marten, stoats, toads and newts. Birds include adults and chicks of waders such as oystercatchers and lapwings. Young barn owls are particularly vulnerable to busy main roads see http://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/infopage.html?Id=180. Also at night bats foraging near minor roads can also be hit.
This year BSCG has raised concerns with politicians and senior CNPA staff about escalating road kills. For example we mentioned this problem to the parliamentary species champion for the brown hare, Alison Johnstone MSP, alerting her that there will be a predictable and potentially very serious, increased mortality risk for brown hares in the Carrbridge and Rothiemurchus - An Cama Mor area if controversial developments are allowed. Road mortality might be contributing to an apparent decline of brown hares in Badenoch that has already been reported to BSCG.
Brown Hare on Carr Road near Carrbridge. Controversial new housing would add to traffic on this quiet and exceptionally wildlife-rich minor road, increasing the toll of wading birds, hares and other protected wildlife.
Brown hare on the B970, the 'back road' between Boat of Garten and Coylumbridge. As well as brown hare, otter,red squirrel, badger,pine marten and even wildcat mortality will inevitably increase if the An Camas Mor new town development beside the B970 goes ahead.
Otters and wildcat typically cross roads at night when they can be difficult for drivers to see unfortunately signs alone cannot eliminate mortality.
Female capercaillie. Ground nesting birds like capercaillie are vulnerable to opportunistic egg predators like crows and gulls, whose numbers may increase where extra food is provided by road kills.
Research on barn owls has shown that road deaths are greatest on young owls and affect ones that have escaped mortality from other causes such starvation.