Thousands of Wild Animals have Perished on Malaysian Roads
Road in wildlife-rich areas pose dangers to resident animals. Photo Credit: travelsforwildlife.com
Within the space of just five years, between 2012 and 2017, officials have recorded a total of 2,444 road accidents involving wild animals belonging to 30 species. That means that there is at least one deadly road accident involving a wild animal every single day of the year. And that’s just according to the official figures.
We’ve said it before repeatedly, but we’ll say it again: it’s absolute carnage out their for wildlife on Malaysian roads.
Then again, how could it not be? As more and more roads crisscross ever more fragmented habitats, it’s inevitable that wild animals on the move in search of food and mates will end up having to cross some of these roads. As wildlife crossings remain far and few between in large parts of the country, far more animals wind up as roadkill, including iconic local species from Malayan tigers to Malayan sun bears to Malayan tapirs. Elephants, black panthers and other critically endangered species, too, have perished in road accidents recently.
Encouragingly, efforts are underway to reduce the death toll of animals on the country’s roads, according to Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar. The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) has put up 280 wildlife crossing signboards, 24 sets of warning lights, and 37 sets of transverse bars at selected locations nationwide.
Several wildlife crossings, including tunnels and viaducts, have been constructed accident-prone sites, such as in and near the Central Forest Spine. “The extinction of wildlife can occur drastically if wildlife roadkill continues,” the minister said, according to the Bernama news agency.
Needless to say, far more such crossings are needed. Yet even new wildlife crossings can do little to save animal lives if extensive deforestation continues apace and keeps forcing wild animals closer to roads and human settlements, which will make more conflicts and accidents unavoidable.