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Accidents with wild animals cause CHF50 million in damage

In the event of a collision, the police should be notified immediately, otherwise you risk prosecution for animal cruelty. Keystone / Susann Prautsch

Every year road accidents involving wild animals such as deer cause around CHF50 million ($54 million) in damage throughout Switzerland. What’s more, thousands of animals are injured, according to insurer Axa Winterthur.

This content was published on October 13, 2021 - 15:25
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Axa itself is notified of more than 3,000 accidents involving game every year, it said in a statementExternal link on Wednesday. However, the number fell slightly last year, which the insurer attributed to the “reduced traffic volume due to the pandemic”.

In total, animal accidents cost the insurer about CHF11 million. Calculated for the entire industry, “it’s likely to be more than CHF50 million”, it said.

In cantons Jura, Graubünden, Fribourg and Thurgau “the probability of a collision with a wild animal is particularly high” – up to seven times higher than in other cantons – according to the insurer.

Notify the police

The time of year also plays a role: particular caution is advised in October, November and December. “When the days get shorter, wild animals are more likely to be out and about at the same time as motorists,” Axa warned.

In addition, it’s dark in the morning and evening traffic, which is why animals are often not seen until it’s too late, said Michael Pfäffli, head of Axa accident research. Therefore, drivers should adjust their speed. In the event of a collision, the police should be notified immediately, otherwise one risks prosecution for animal cruelty.

After an accident the police will, if necessary, send gamekeepers, hunters or other specialists to search for the injured animal and put it out of its misery.

However, not only animals but also people are injured in collisions. According to statistics from the Federal Roads Office (Astra) cited by Axa, 89 people were injured last year, up from 76 the year before.

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