In was announced through Lusa on 30th July that Infrarastructures de Portugal (IP) had launched the “Life Lines” application, which will alert drivers of the locations on roads where animals are most run over so that we can take more effective action and reduce deaths.
The project has included for terrestrial animals, a “ground breaking” traffic signal in Portugal that warns drivers that they are in a section with a high risk of amphibians being run over.
This was explained by an IP engineering biologist Graça Garcia at a presentation at the company’s headquarters in Almada, in the district of Setubal.
With the help of citizens, information recorded on the death of an animal on any road in the country will be included in an existing database.
The digital tool was developed in partnership with the University of Évora and, according to the project coordinator at the institution, António Mira, besides mitigating negative effects, it is intended to “create awareness”.
According to the official, between 2005 and 2019, 81,972 animals died on Portuguese roads, with a higher incidence of amphibians, birds and mammals.
“Deaths occur most in the fall and mostly affect small animals such as amphibians. There is a mass mortality, but they go unnoticed because they are small. People may question why we are spending money saving frogs, but these animals are important, for example, to prevent pests, ”he said.
Still, as Graça Garcia stressed, “it is not only the safety of animals that is at stake, but also of people, to prevent accidents.”
Life Lines has been tested in Central Alentejo and has put in place several measures to “minimize the barrier effect that roads create to habitats” of owls, amphibians or mammals, which can later be replicated where necessary, according to the biologist.
In the case of birds, net barriers and shrubbery have been placed so that they fly higher, as well as reflectors that expand the light from headlights towards areas outside the road.
For terrestrial animals, hydraulic passages and fences have been put in place for them, as well as a “ground breaking” traffic signal in Portugal that warns drivers that they are in a section with a high risk of amphibians being run over.
The application is now available for download on Google Play, is free and allows you to record the mortality of an animal on any country road, the species, gender, age, GPS coordinates and photos, however, if the driver do not know any of this information, there is the option “do not know”.
In addition to IP and the University of Évora, the municipalities of Évora and Montemor-o-Novo and the NGO Marca – Local Development Association also cooperated in this project.