Young student scientists believe CDs and human hair can stop deer hitting cars
Young student scientists from Kerry believe official figures of deer accidents are hugely underestimated.
They have discovered that the true number of deer being struck by a vehicle on Irish roads is hugely underestimated.
The young scientists are students at St Brendan’s College in Killarney, Co Kerry and they have combined official statistics on such incidents and their own survey using a crowdsourcing app.
The St Brendan students believe they have come up with a more accurate picture of the deer roadkill situation.
During their research, they have found that there were more than 101 incidents in the Killarney area in the past five years, with an average of more than 300 collisions a year in Ireland. Most went undocumented unless there was significant personal damage or injury, said Darragh Fleming.
Students and classmates Colm Looney and Ethan O’Neill identified two areas where deer were most frequently to be found in their area: Gortroe in Fossa and Loughitane near Muckross. Motion sensors and cameras were deployed to detect the animals.
The student were able to prove the effectiveness of “cheap deterrents” used in Scotland and the US in the form of CDs (Compact Discs) hung from trees and human hair (sourced from a local barber and packed into tights). The CD shines when illuminated by car lights while the scent from the hair puts the deer off.
The student were further able to develop a new prototype deer detector as part of the third phase of their project. It is a sign that lights up with different colours depending on how recently deer have been in the area; red indicating to a motorist when they are most likely to face an encounter.
“We believe that all three measures together will reduce collisions,” Fleming added. They are submitting their work to the Road Safety Authority, the local Garda, and Kerry County Council.