A recent study has determined that the wild koala population of Queensland, Australia could be potentially saved by a somewhat simple measure, which is adopting daylight saving time.
The daylight saving time has caused and will probably continue to provoke debates and discussions as to its utility and need.
However, a team of researchers came to the conclusion that such as a measure could come to save Australia’s wild koala population as it would decrease road accidents.
The study was conducted by a team of Australia’s University of Queensland School of Agriculture and Food Sciences led by Bill Ellis.
The research and its results were published this Tuesday in the Biology Letters journal.
Their purpose was to determine a way of saving the wild koalas which inhabit the southeast portion of Queensland state.
Reports show that the Australian state’s koala specimen numbers have registered an 80 percent drop in numbers in a time period not even two decades long.
As the koalas’ natural habitat is reducing, it is also affected by the number of cars that commute daily through the area.
Koalas are nocturnal animals as they sleep throughout the day and are active throughout the nights.
Careful monitoring of the animals’ behavior and daily habits seemed to show that the koalas are either on or attempting to cross the roads at sundown or sunrise.
The explanation for this would be quite simple as the animals are either going to sleep or waking up from it.
Their observations were gathered with the help of satellite tracking collars and traffic flow rates gathered by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.
Data gathered from the Department of Transport helped determine the area’s traffic patterns and most active patterns.
Researchers also used the aforementioned satellite tracking collars on 25 koalas. They were used so as to track the animals’ habits and daily routine.
They also helped track and determine their location at various hours throughout the day. As such, they discovered that they are most activate during the early evening or late afternoon period.
As they compared the two sets of data, daylight saving time was determined to be the simplest method of preventing the animal and car collisions.
With the koalas’ internal clock most active hours quite corresponding to the evening traffic, a slight change in the traffic hour could reduce the number of accidents.
Depending on the road and on the day, the koala strikes could be reduced by about 8 to 11 percent.
The weekend collision rates would make quite a difference as they would be reduced by 10.5 up to 11.3 percent.
Weekdays would have an 8.1 to 8.6 percent less collision chance, a number made lower by the possible increase of early morning darkness koala incidents.
The study findings were only tested in relation to the koala population living in the southeast parts of Queensland state. As such, they may have different results in other parts of Australia.
Their proposed saving method is also as simple as it is controversial as Australia has quite a complicated relation with daylight saving time. The hour change stopped being used after a mere three years trial period.
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