Road ecology blog: American badger (Taxidea taxus) killed by a car, Montana, USA.
This is perhaps one of the most gruesome images I have ever taken from an animal killed by a car. I think the abundance of fresh red blood is particularly shocking. Some people tell me that I should not photograph animals that have been killed by traffic; some people find the images disturbing and they simply do not want to see them. I do understand and respect that opinion. I also do not like seeing a dead animal alongside the road and I also find it disturbing that we hit so many animals with our cars. However, for me this is one of the reasons to photograph it rather than not to photograph it. I have a basic journalistic approach to this; it is there, it is one of the negative side effects of how we choose to transport ourselves, and I did not alter it. However, most of us tend to ignore this side effect of our transportation system. We pass by at high speeds, and we do not really take in what has happened. Images like these - of the American badger - may give us pause and help us realize that we do kill animals with our cars and that it is awful. While it may be difficult to look at photos of roadkilled animals it is one of the reasons why we, as a society, are prepared to do something about it, at least in selected locations. If we ignore that roads and traffic result in dead animals we may be less inclined to invest in mitigation measures. So, I not only photograph mitigation measures aimed at reducing problems associated with roads and traffic; I also photograph the problems that we are trying to address. To me it is logical to do both; photograph both the problems and measures aimed at reducing the problems.
Another reason to photograph dead animals is that it is an opportunity for me to see animals up close. Live animals are often afraid of us or dangerous to us, and we typically do not get a close look. Although the animals are dead, and that is terrible, there can be beautiful details and interesting patterns in their fur or feathers. In the case of this American badger I suddenly realized that the white stripe on the head and neck of the animal and the surrounding grey fur are similar to white lane markers and the gray pavement... the irony...
Click here for other images of animals that were killed by cars.
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