THE slaughter of sheep and lambs on North Yorkshire Moors roads is rising, along with the number of wildlife being killed, says the Moors Association in its latest bulletin, Voice of the Moors.
The association says that two of the worst roads are between Castleton and Hutton-le-Hole, and Lockwood Beck to Castleton, going through some of the most spectacular scenery in the park.
New figures show that the number of sheep reportedly killed has reached 100 a year.
A spokesman said: “The number is likely to be much higher than that as many roadside deaths are not reported and some sheep which are injured, wander on the moors well away from the road and die a very lingering and painful death.
“These road accidents not only result in considerable cost to the farmers in loss of valuable stock, but many of the collisions also cause costly damage to vehicles and in some cases result in injury to the drivers.”
While excessive speed is usually cited as the main cause of the sheep deaths, it is also caused by driver lack of awareness and anticipation, says the association, which is urging touring motorists to take greater care when driving on the moorland roads.
“If drivers would only stay vigilant and reduce their speed, a great number of the costly accidents involving moorland sheep, and damage to cars, could be avoided.”
It says that when there are sheep and lambs on the roadside verges, drivers should slow down.
“Give them a wide berth,” the spokesman added.
“Sheep, particularly lambs, can be highly unpredictable and suddenly dart out or casually wander in the road”
But sheep are not the only casualties, says the association. “Each year we are seeing a considerable death toll of wildlife such as grouse, pheasant and other wild birds.”