In recent weeks there has been a huge increase in the number of badgers being killed on the roads in county Kilkenny. A website, biology.ie, has been keeping track of the number of reported badger road fatalities in Ireland.
Paul Whelan who runs Biology.ie said that there is a staggering number of animals killed needlessly on Irish roads each year. He said “In general, the number of badger road kills is staggering in Ireland – otter road kill is very high also. In my opinion there was very little effort made by the National Roads Authority to build under or over passes for animals.”
However, Joe Gannon a senior roads engineer with Kilkenny County Council disagrees with Mr Whelan. Mr Gannon who admitted that he had seen a number of dead badgers himself recently said that the council had made every effort possible when building the new motorway to ensure that they wouldn’t contribute to badger deaths.
Mr Gannon said that a badger expert had been employed to walk the route of the motorway and mark any spots where a badger track crossed the planned road. Badgers are animals of habit and they stick to well worn tracks that experts can identify. As part of the environmental impact study badger tracks and setts were marked out before the road was built. At spots where the badger tracks crossed the road underpasses were built and badger proof fencing was installed to allow the badgers cross the motorway in safety. Motorways pose a bigger threat to badgers than standard roads as they aren’t able to get over the raised central median.
Mr Gannon said “A few badgers had to be rehoused before the start of the M9 project as part of the environmental impact assessment. If we get a badger kill we’ll try find out is there a fault in that allowed the badgers on to the motorway. Obviously if they are getting killed they most be on a path that the badgers use so we have to look into it.”