Categorized | Imperiled Wildlife

Kentucky Governor Proclaims Watch Out for Wildlife Awareness Week

Deer jumping over fence onto a roadWatch Out for Wildlife Awareness Week will take place in Kentucky this September, thanks to Governor Steven L. Beshear’s Proclamation last week!

A car cruises along a winding, tree lined road.  The driver rounds a bend, sees a flash of fur and bright eyes glowing in the headlights. The wheel jerks and the tires screech.

This tragic scenario is becoming all too common on our roads, claiming the lives of millions of animals and hundreds of Americans every year. And the numbers are steadily rising.  While the number of all reported crashes has been holding steady, the number of reported wildlife-vehicle collisions has skyrocketed – now representing one out of every 20 reported motor vehicle collisions, and occurring every 26 seconds.

Kentucky is not exempt from these dangerous collisions. According to a State Farm 2010 study, the likelihood of a specific vehicle striking a deer in Kentucky is 1 in 161. Colliding with a deer or any other animal can also hit your pocketbook.  The average cost per accident is $7,000, adding up to $1 billion per year in property damage. Factoring in resources from law enforcement, emergency services, road maintenance crews and wildlife management personnel, the estimated annual cost to society associated with wildlife-vehicle collisions is nearly $8.4 billion.

In order to increase awareness in each state, the Habitat and Highways program asked governors to officially proclaim Watch Out for Wildlife Awareness Week in their states. This year the awareness week is from September 18-24 and the website, www.watchoutforwildlife.org, features tips for drivers, contact information in the case of a wildlife-vehicle collision, factsheets, multimedia presentations and materials for kids and teachers.

Defenders of Wildlife thanks Governor Beshear for helping us spread the word about these costly and dangerous collisions. For more information on wildlife-vehicle collisions please visit the Habitat and Highways website at www.habitatandhighways.org and the WOW website at www.watchoutforwildlife.org.

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dotWild is the blog of scientists and policy experts at Defenders of Wildlife, a national, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.

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