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Weekly: Stop blaming wildlife for 'causing' road traffic accidents

Roe Deer in Estonia.
Roe Deer in Estonia. Source: Minupilt.err.ee/Rauno Roos

Road traffic accidents are caused as often as not by humans, not wildlife, though you perhaps could be forgiven for thinking it was the other way round at times, a recent opinion piece in agricultural weekly Maaleht states.

Media headlines say it all, the piece, by Mari Peterson, argues, with tales of "confused" animals "causing" dozens of accidents per month, and presumably which drivers and motorcyclists bear no culpability in whatsoever.

Naturally a deer, for instance, has not been to driving school, and is simply traveling from a to b, as indeed is a human driver – but the latter has choice, consciousness, responsibility, and the ability to, say, slow down when they spy a pair of eyes on the road ahead, reflected in the headlights.

The main hunting society in Estonia postulates that culls are needed to reduce stock of deer and other large animals which could have the audacity to get in the way of a driver and his or her vehicle – a line reiterated by ETV's own "Ringvaade," Peterson writes, in a reportage talking about the need for culling "...so that they don't run in front of the cars."

However, this rather ignores the fact that it is the activity of hunters and outdoorspeople that send wildlife on the move which otherwise might have remained where they were; thus increasing the likelihood of their crossing the road.

Ultimately, it takes actions on the part of the one party which can actually do something to change things, ie. drivers, in behaving more responsibly, for the sake of themselves and of other human road users as well.

The original Maaleht piece is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Maaleht

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