Ensuring Safe Passage for Wildlife

Preventing roadkill in Hanadiv Valley

The sight of an animal lying lifeless on the side of the road is familiar to every driver. We usually encounter this difficult sight on the way to work or on one of our routine errands, our minds full of tasks, and we don’t necessarily stop to give it any further thought. However, wildlife roadkill provides clear evidence of the complex (and often hazardous) interaction between humans and the environment.
Stopping and contemplating the topic can teach us about the interface between humans and nature; a meeting that can end in tragedy, a meeting with results that we can influence.

We have chosen to tell you about the challenge of wildlife movement here in the Ramat Hanadiv region.

The "Avoiders"

In the Nature Park at Ramat Hanadiv we make great efforts to protect the animals’ natural environment and to optimally manage the interface between humans and nature. Therefore, the topic of roadkill adjacent to the park poses a serious challenge to us at Ramat Hanadiv and leads us to strive for change on this issue.

Ramat Hanadiv is surrounded by settlements and traffic; these pose a daily threat to wildlife in the area. Since 2003, the staff of Ramat Hanadiv has been monitoring roadkill on the roads surrounding Ramat Hanadiv, knowing that study and monitoring can contribute to nature, both with respect to marking roadkill hotspots that can be dealt with individually, to minimize and prevent accidents that cause danger to wildlife and humans, and with respect to expanding knowledge on wildlife and their behavioural traits throughout the region. In the final analysis it is important to understand what we can do to minimize accidents and contribute to protecting wildlife.

The very survey that began in 2003 has been expanded and upgraded to the point that it can monitor roadkill seven days a week, with a complete system of control and research.


it is important to understand what we can do to minimize accidents and contribute to protecting wildlife


Wildlife behaviour across space and potential impacts

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The "Speeders"

So which animals are being run over in our region? What causes certain animals to be run over? Is there anything we can do about it?

Different species respond differently to the increase in traffic volume and to oncoming vehicles; their behaviour has a very large impact on their survival and on their potential to be run over.

A model developed in 2016 classifies wildlife species according to their response to an oncoming vehicle and to the volume of traffic:

  1. Avoiders – these avoid crossing the road when the volume of traffic crosses a certain threshold. This is a seemingly good result in the context of roadkill, but the truth is a little more complex; avoidance by wildlife creates a reality in which populations become isolated and face potential extinction – a greater threat than roadkill. Moreover, an animal that tends to avoid crossing but somehow finds itself on the road will freeze and not know how to respond; unless drivers are particularly alert and vigilant, such an animal will be run over, as happened to a gazelle last month (17.10.2021).
The "Pausers"

Gazelles are a pertinent example of the ‘avoiders’ group – a group that exists at very small numbers (a few dozen) in the Ramat Hanadiv area, and is therefore in real danger.

2. Pausers – these animals freeze when a vehicle approaches and do not run away; a meeting with such animals in the absence of heightened driver alertness will almost certainly lead to them being run over and killed. This group includes such animals as the badger.

3. Speeders – this group responds by running away when a vehicle approaches. When the volume of traffic increases they avoid crossing the road. The ‘speeders’ group includes jackals, porcupines and mongooses.

4. The last group are the ‘Nonresponders’, who do not detect or respond to the movement of vehicles. These include frogs, hedgehogs and tortoises.


Vigilant drivers in rural areas or near nature sites, driving more slowly, observing and being responsible, will protect many animals and save many lives

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The "Speeders"

So what can we do?

Infrastructure plays a key role in protecting wildlife movement and preventing death, and has a great impact on animal habitats across the region. Expansion of roads, opening of business, and lighting along roads – each of these human choices has a real impact on the movement and survival of different populations across the region.

But the individual driver, who passes by randomly – on the way to work, on the way home, running daily errands – has a role and a responsibility. Vigilant drivers in rural areas or near nature sites, driving more slowly, observing and being responsible, will protect many animals and save many lives.

So, when you’re driving near Ramat Hanadiv, take your foot off the accelerator and look out for wildlife. Your knowledge of their presence and your vigilant driving can make a big difference – a difference that can save and protect wildlife.

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