Where There’s Roadkill, There’s a Waze, Israel Finds With App

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By Jenny David

Israel’s largest nature-protection organization thinks the Waze navigation app has a use beyond providing traffic or accident warnings—reducing roadkill.

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) has teamed with Waze to try to limit high rates of roadkill, including where car encounters kill or injure endangered species. If successful, the Red Road Atlas for Wildlife could be adopted in other countries.

Residents can activate the existing “Roadkill” button on the widely used app to report dead animals on or alongside the road. Waze will forward the data to SPNI, which will analyze the information to determine the country’s most dangerous spots for wildlife and work with government planning, lands and highway authorities to develop solutions for their safe passage.

“Transportation infrastructure is growing, and endangers a wide array of wild animals” as they cross the roads most often, Shmulik Yedvab, director of SPNI’s Mammal Department, told Bloomberg BNA in a telephone interview March 2. Animal populations also are becoming fragmented as a result, creating long-term demographic and genetic diversity problems, he said.

On the basis of SPNI’s analysis, including the identifying features such as garbage dumps and water sources that could cause animals to cross trafficked roads, government authorities and private road operators have committed to helping counter problems by building fences and animal crossings, according to Yedvab.

If successful, the model will “very likely” and “very quickly” be adopted in other countries, he said.

“Waze users and wildlife-protection authorities have already expressed much interest,” he said. “If it works, I’m pretty sure it will adopted globally.”

Waze describes itself as the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app.

To contact the reporter on this story, Jenny David in Jerusalem at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Greg Henderson at ghenderson@bna.com

For More Information

The Red Road Atlas for Wildlife project is accessible, in Hebrew, at http://src.bna.com/mHJ.

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