Imagine driving for more than four hours on your way to the ocean, and out of nowhere, a raccoon crosses the road, and you don’t have enough time to stop! Several species of wildlife, including those that are endangered, take their last steps on highways in Colombia.
In 2019, more than 2500 wild animals were found dead on the side of the road: 58% of these animals were mammals, 17% birds, 22% reptiles, and 3% are amphibians.
Colombia has 16,600 kilometers of only highways. This is something positive for road and civil development, but authorities must take measures to ensure the safety of wildlife.
These highways often have few traffic signs, many curves and go through areas that are heavily populated by wildlife like raccoons, possums, anteaters, squirrels, foxes, owls, eagles and black vultures.
Forensic Veterinary Medicine
The most common reason for roadkill is accidental run over. However, it has been discovered that drivers sometimes intentionally run over animals for entertainment purposes or due to road rage.
Forensic Veterinary Medicine has revealed that depending on the angle and appearance of the post-mortem injuries an animal has after being run over, scientists can identify if it was done intentionally or by accident. Together with Colombian police, forensic veterinary investigators seek justice for the animals killed on purpose.
Red Colombiana de Seguimiento de Fauna Atropellada (REFOSCA) has created an app so people can photograph and georeference a dead animal on the road. With this data, they try to find solutions to protect the animals from getting hit.
Solutions are slowly being implemented, such as bridges for wildlife, ropes, traffic signs and educational campaigns for drivers.
Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world due to its positioning on the Latin American continent. The country has multiple ecosystems, thermal floors and a wide variety of plants that make it a preferred area for wild animals.
This story has been written by Sara Castano Correa, who lives in Colombia. The Animal Reader is always looking for writers who want to contribute stories about animal welfare and animal rights in their country. If you’re interested, send us a mail: [email protected]