Train barks like a dog for deer life to stop rise in rail kills

Source : www.asahi.com

The train snorts like a deer and yelps like a dog, and it is saving lives.

The blaring of the animal sounds from aboard the running train has turned out to be effective in reducing deer-train collisions, a research institution says.

The unlikely contraption was thought up by

a team at the Railway Technical Research Institute.

RTRI officials say the contraption has successfully repelled deer, with more than 40 percent fewer animals being sighted from trains.

The Tokyo-based institution is hoping to have the system in practical use by the end of fiscal 2018 as a novel anti-collision measure.

The officials explained that deer have a habit of repeatedly snorting short, shrill sounds to alert other deer when they perceive danger.

Researchers thought it would be a good idea to combine that with the sound of a deer's enemy (i.e. dog).

The yapping of the hound, which drives deers to panic, adds synergy to the crafty plan, beefing up the “deterrent noise,” the RTRI says.

In tests, a 3-second-long recording of a deer’s snort and 20 seconds of a yapping dog were aired from aboard a running train car between evening and late at night, the time of the day when deer typically make frequent appearances. Deer were sighted only 7.5 times per 100 kilometers from aboard the trains, about 45 percent less than when no measures were in place.

The RTRI hopes to carry out a longer-term experiment in the future to verify the effects. It also plans to develop a device that automatically emits the sounds at sites where deer are commonly seen. They will also ensure the noises are not blared in areas where people live beside the tracks.

“If our new contraption works, that will obviate the need for installing anti-trespass facilities at many locations,” said one RTRI official. “We hope to finish it into a system that works in mountainous areas and elsewhere so railroad companies will want to introduce it.”

In fiscal 2016, according to transport ministry figures, there were a record 613 cases across Japan of train services suspended or delayed for at least 30 minutes due to collisions with deer and other wild animals. That was up 185 from the previous fiscal year.

 

*The article was published on The Asahi Shimbun Digital on January 17, 2018 at 07:30 JST

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