Ponies that live in southwest England can sometimes get in the way. Now they’ll be painted with glow-in-the-dark blue paint to stop cars running them down at night. The paint will be used as an alternative to reflective collars, which proved less than effective because they get snagged on gorse bushes and yanked off the ponies’ necks.
Britain’s moors are bleak highlands which remain mostly wild, and yet drivers speed across them as if they were highways.
“People should slow down,” Rob Steemson, head ranger of Dartmoor National Park, told the Guardian. “When they cross a cattle grid [cattle guard], they ought to realize that animals could be around and drive carefully.”
The paint project protects the Dartmoor Ponies, a local breed that grazes on the commons. Ponies will have a stripe painted along each side, and daubs above and below their tails. “Motorists will not be able to tell it’s an animal, they’ll just see this alien glow, which might be able to reduce the speed of these motorists,” Karla McKechnie, livestock protection officer for the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society, told BBC News.
The DLPS is a charity that exists to protect and care for animals that live in Dartmoor. It has put up speed-limit signs which record the speed of passing vehicles, promotes responsible dog walking, and campaigns against dumping of trash. Even feeding the ponies is out, because tempting them to approach your car means they get used to hanging out near dangerous roads.
And now it’s blue, glow-in-the-dark paint that is hoped to save the ponies. McKechnie got the idea from Finland, although the paint is produced locally, and hopes that it will slow the deaths of the ponies, 60 of which have already been killed on the moor’s roads this year.