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“Destroyed habitat”: 17,000 rabbits die in traffic every year

“Destroyed habitat”: 17,000 rabbits die in traffic every year
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The Austrian Transport Club (VCÖ) and the nature conservation organization WWF drew attention to this shortly before Easter. In total, more than 70,000 wild animals fell victim to road traffic each year, as reported by Statistics Austria to the district authorities show. In this context, VCÖ and WWF criticize the high level of land consumption in Austria.

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On average over the past ten years, an area equivalent to three football fields has been used for traffic every day. There are already a total of 128,300 kilometers of roads in Austria, according to a press release on Thursday. VCÖ and WWF therefore called for a significant reduction in land consumption and an end to urban sprawl. The central component of this is a soil protection law, which in particular sets a binding upper limit for soil consumption.

“Valuable natural areas are being destroyed”

“The constant expansion of the road network destroys valuable natural areas, promotes urban sprawl and ultimately leads to more traffic. This has been scientifically proven for decades, but there has still been a lack of rethinking,” criticized Simon Pories, soil protection spokesman for WWF Austria. “The animals’ habitat is cut up by many roads. The more vehicles on the road and the higher the speed, the greater the risk of death for the animals,” explained VCÖ spokesman Christian Gratzer.

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In addition to wildlife, residents would also benefit from a reduction in traffic. 128,300 kilometers of roads already run through Austria – most of them in the largest federal states of Lower Austria, Styria and Upper Austria. According to federal states, the most rabbits recently died in Lower Austria, around 7,700. In Upper Austria, more than 4,200 rabbits were hit and fatally injured. In Burgenland and Styria there are more than 2,200 each.

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