Ideas: Roadkill – whose fault?

Just within these 2 months, I’ve seen two animals being struck by vehicles– the first being a monitor lizard right outside Singapore Zoological Gardens, and the second was a bird (I can’t identify what species it belongs to) along the tunnel at Science Drive 4 (National University of Singapore, NUS). These two incidents provoked my thoughts about road killing in Singapore. Although it might seem uncommon, just within such a short period, I’ve seen 2 animals being killed. Not needing to say for every dead animal we saw, there will be a few more die unnoticed.

Roadkills are rarely documented, but that does not mean that they are rare.

A roadkill can be equivalent to a hit-and-run case, which leads to more roadkills.

Of course, we will be charged for a hit-and-run accident. However, that is applicable only to humans. Homo sapiens. As far as I know, there aren’t any serious charges for road killings in Singapore. Therefore, many of these “hit-and-run” drivers escaped from the crime scene, leaving carcasses of animals on the road. Other animals like the carnivores might scavenge these animals, which will be problematic because these scavengers might have a risk of getting hit by cars.

Much being said, I felt extremely bad for not even trying to help in removing the carcasses of the two dead animals, but instead, I just took pictures of them. Sigh. Perhaps I could do a simple act by just informing Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum so that I would not be constantly haunted by guilt. Even till now.

It will only increase and humans are to blame.

According to Culture Change, four million miles of roads have steamrolled across the U.S., fragmenting and destroying wildlife habitat. This would mean animals have to run away from their home, finding places that will better suit them. As the human population spikes, it would mean more infrastructures have to be built and more automobiles used. Eventually, more habitats will be destroyed because of the “need” for human comfort and convenience.

Not just that, we could blame the drivers for driving recklessly and also inhumane for ignoring all the lives that were lost on the roads. However, it is also important to note that some things are beyond our control.

Our government tries to integrate wildlife’s fragmented habitat with us. The increase in green spaces may cause Singaporeans to better appreciate the nature and wildlife, but sometimes it is inevitable that this integration would mean animals would have a higher risk of getting struck by vehicles, especially if their habitats are just by the roads.

Animals could have better adapt to their changing habitat too.

Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory – survival of the fittest. Since the world is changing, animals should better adapt to this changing environment. I’ve learned during in my Behavioural Biology class that animals can undergo conditional learning so that they are better able to survive in the environment. Perhaps animals could have learned more efficiently so they are able to avoid cars and prevent themselves from getting run over? City crows have learned to about traffic light status to pick up their food on the roads so that they will not get run over by cars. Perhaps if given a longer time, these animals are able to do the same too?

Above are just some thoughts of mine. Of course, there are many other factors affecting the number of roadkills. What we can do is to be more alert while driving and perhaps remove animals that were struck for veterinary care…


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