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Wallaby among animals killed on major roads and motorways in England

A wallaby, a pig and a cow were among the animals killed on motorways and major roads in England last year, new figures show.

Highways England said 2,143 dead animals were found on the Strategic Road Network in 2015.

Partial data for the types of animals killed suggests deer were the most common, being involved in around one in four cases.

The 10 most frequently killed animals also included cats, dogs, otters and swans.

The figures, released in response to a Freedom of Information request by the Press Association, included road death totals for 19 different animals.

One wallaby - a kangaroo-like creature primarily found in Australia - was among the fatalities.

The location of the death was not given, but there have been several sightings of wild wallabies in recent years, including in Devon, Norfolk and the Peak District.

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity RAC Foundation, said: "When it comes to hazard perception, drivers might not give much thought to animals straying into their path, but these figures show why they should.

"Many of the animals hit will be family pets, and both Highways England and animal owners need to do their best to keep them off our roads - which have never been busier."

The Deer Initiative charity estimates that up to 74,000 deer-vehicle collisions occur on Britain's roads each year, injuring as many as 700 drivers and passengers.

Wildlife expert Dr Jochen Langbein said: "There's obviously a significant problem."

He explained that a range of potential measures can be deployed to protect deer - including enhanced fencing, better signage to warn drivers and building animal overpasses and underpasses.

But he warned: "There's not a simple solution."

Department for Transport figures show that eight people were killed on Britain's roads last year in accidents where the presence of an "animal or object in carriageway" was a contributory factor.

A further 179 people were seriously injured, with a total of 1,363 casualties.

The most common region for animal-related crashes was south-east England with 211, followed by the South West (133) and the East of England (126).

A Highways England spokeswoman said: " The safety of road users and road workers is our top priority, which is why keeping roads as clear as possible is essential.

"The number of incidents involving animals on our roads is extremely low.

"We have tried and tested plans to deal with animals which come into difficulty while being transported. When building and improving roads, we also include measures to prevent wild animals getting onto our roads."

She added that the organisation is working with a number of charities to provide further training for traffic officers handling and recovering animals.

:: Here is a breakdown of the types of animals found dead on motorways and major roads in England last year according to Highways England, in the 766 cases where information about the type of animal was provided (number of fatalities in brackets):

Deer (194)

Badgers (180)

Foxes (126)

Cats (71)

Dogs (47)

Owls (41)

Otters (29)

Pheasants (29)

Swans (15)

Birds (10)

Sheep (five)

Polecats (nine)

Rabbits (three)

Ferret (two)

Cow (one)

Duck (one)

Horse (one)

Pig (one)

Wallaby (one)

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From Belfast Telegraph