Raising Awareness About Wildlife On The Overberg’s Roads
Did you know? Many vehicle accidents in South Africa involve collisions with wildlife. Insurance claims suggest that almost 83 million Rand is paid out in damages each year as a result of wildlife-associated vehicle collisions.
While temporary road closures, wildlife crossings and bridges are a way to improve safety for wildlife near roads, the most common method is the use of road signs to warn motorists. Signs installed in areas of high animal activity aim to alert drivers to possible wildlife and to remind them to be more aware and adjust their driving behaviour accordingly.
Spotted On The Road - A Campaign By The Cape Leopard Trust
With this in mind, the Cape Leopard Trust and the Endangered Wildlife Trust have launched the ‘Spotted on the Road’ campaign to raise awareness about wildlife on roads in the Overberg. The campaign is part of the collaborative Tale of Two Leopards project that focuses on the western leopard toad and the Cape leopard. Leopards and toads find themselves in an increasingly urbanised environment and must navigate their way through this transformed landscape by crossing roads.
Signs Created By Artist Bryan Little
In an innovative move to alert motorists to slow down for toads, leopards and other animals, The Tale of Two Leopards’ Spotted on the Road campaign team worked with Cape Town-based artist Bryan Little to create reflective road signs. Based on where camera traps have confirmed toad mortality by vehicles and leopard sighting signs have been placed at five locations in the Overberg on tarred and dirt roads on both public and private land.
Unveiling Of New Signs At Evening Event In Stanford
The new road signs were introduced to the public at an informal event held at Ou Meul Bakery and Café in Stanford on Saturday,16 July 2022. The Spotted on the Road evening featured an informative presentation, the unveiling of the signs, and an outdoor frogging experience at the Willem Appelsdam.
The Cape Leopard and the Endangered Wildlife Trust Thanks Participants
The Cape Leopard Trust and the Endangered Wildlife Trust sincerely thank everyone who made the incentive possible:
• Stanford Landowners - For allocating their land for the signage
• Overstrand Municipality - For allocating land for the signage
• Ou Meul Stanford - For hosting the event
• Mountain Falls Spring Water - For sponsoring bottled water
• Those who attended the event - For showing support
How Can You Help?
1. Drive slowly, especially at night
2. Be on the lookout for animals on the roads
3. Don’t swerve, but avoid collisions by reducing speed
4. Help a toad cross a road (in the same direction in which it is travelling)
5. Be a citizen scientist and submit information!
6. Contribute to leopard research by submitting photos of leopard sightings, signs like spoor or droppings, and threats to leopards to the CLT Western Cape leopard database: app.capeleopard.org.za