So I forgot – what can I say? I’m old, ha, ha.
“During the early 20th century, roadkill or “flat meats” became a common sight in all industrialized First World nations, as they adopted the internal combustion engine and the automobile. Roadkill can be eaten, and there are several recipe books dedicated to roadkill. One of the earliest observers of roadkill was the naturalist Joseph Grinnell, who noted in 1920: “This [roadkill] is a relatively new source of fatality; and if one were to estimate the entire mileage of such roads in the state [California], the mortality must mount into the hundreds and perhaps thousands every 24 hours.””
“In Australia, specific actions taken to protect against the variety of animals that can damage vehicles – such as bullbars (usually known in Australia as ‘roo bars’, in reference to kangaroos) – indicate the Australian experience has some unique features with road kill.” The quotation is from Wikipedia on the subject of roadkill and the history of the phenominon.
My personal count last week was low:
- Opossum – 1
- Squirrel – 2
- Unidentified – 2
“The Simmons Society was founded by Professor Roger M. Knutson of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, US to further studies of road fauna. Professor Knutson also published a book called “Common Animals of Roads, Street, and Highway: A Field Guide To Flattened Fauna”.
“A recent study showed that insects, too, are prone to a very high risk of roadkill incidence. Research showed interesting patterns in insect/butterfly road kills in relation to the vehicle density. Although the insect community is equally at risk, much of the attention goes to bigger, more charismatic animals.”
“About 350,000 to 27 million birds are estimated to be killed on European roads each year.” – More quotes from Wikipedia, same article.
It is sad – I know animals have always been killed by predators and eaten for food, but this is just slaughter for no purpose. These poor creatures do not understand what a road is, let alone an automobile, or the speed at which it travels. Often they are traveling looking for food, or a mate, due to procreation urges that are instinctive. It is a tragedy, and we should be aware of it and pay more attention on the highways.
Have I mentioned I hate cars? If you do not care about the non-human road kill, think about the humans that are killed every year on highways: 42,636 in the United States in 2003. That number does not include the injured – some of whom are crippled for life.
Pay attention when driving. Put down the cell phone, don’t sing along to the radio, just use your peripheral vision and be ready to slam on the brakes when needed, ok?