ACTION C.4 – Decrease of traffic-caused bear mortality
Traffic mortality represents an important factor of the total brown bear mortality in Slovenia and Croatia. In Slovenia (1994–2012) at least 222 bears were killed by traffic (96 on roads, 16 on highways, 88 on railways, 22 not specified), representing 15% of the total mortality of the species. In Croatia at least 17 bears were killed only on one highway (A6) in the period 2006–2012. Besides a high contribution to the total mortality, traffic related bear mortality has also has important indirect threats for bears: a vehicle collision with a bear is high risk factor for road safety and the economy, and thus contributes to the growing conflict between bears and humans and can worsen the public attitudes toward this animal; traffic related mortality of bear is age-biased (mainly young individuals, less than 100 kg, both sexes), influencing the demographic structure of the population as well as its dispersal potential; contrary to road-mortality, which is well-known, data on railway-mortality are probably not so precise, and hence this source of bear mortality may be underestimated.
Several aspects make implementation of this action very important: the implemented measures will act as a best practice demonstration of solving of this threat to bear survival; traffic related bear mortality will decrease (a direct positive influence on the population as a whole as well as on its dispersal from the population core area of Slovenia/Croatia towards the Alps); the action will increase the awareness of people and change their driving habits; the action as a whole will decrease the conflicts between humans and bears; the action will also decrease human accident (life and injury) risk and material losses.
Activities for reducing traffic-caused bear mortality are subdivided into two sub-actions:
- implementation of several technical countermeasures for reducing bear-vehicle collisions by providing either more safe road crossings over state roads and railways, by enabling safe bear escapes out of the highway (when they do come on the highway) and more importantly preventing bear highway crossing with electrification of fences along dangerous highway sections or by warning drivers about the animal;
- supporting activities for rising general awareness of public and end-users about this issue.
Latest C.4 actions:
On 23rd June 2017, ERICo institute and Slovenian Forest Service held a presentation about brown bears and wolves for employees [...]
On 8th July 2016 we had a meeting with representatives of hunting clubs LD Velike Poljane and LD Dolenja vas. [...]
In April, we completed the installation of acoustic deterrents into the roadside traffic pillars on the regional road Ljubljana – [...]
Two, in terms of animal-vehicle collisions problematic sections of the main road Ljubljana - Kočevje between Zgornje Lozine and Dolenja [...]
The acoustic deterrents, which minimize the chance of bear presence on the rail at the time of train arrival, were [...]