Dartmoor ponies
A new initiative that aims to cut the number of ponies killed in Dartmoor National Park by daubing them with reflective paint.Karla Mckechnie

If you happen to see a glowing pony or a shimmering sheep as you drive through Devon, try not to be alarmed - you're not losing your sight. It's part of a new initiative that aims to cut the number of ponies killed by cars in the area by daubing them with reflective paint.

Karla McKechnie, a livestock protection officer for the Dartmoor Livestock Protection Society, which plans to fund the project, said that the idea was sparked by a similar scheme in Finland, where reindeer's antlers are sprayed with reflective paint to allow drivers to see them in the dark.

She told the BBC that around 60 animals have been killed on the local roads in 2015, an increase on previous years. At the moment the project is still in the pilot stage, with animal-friendly blue paint being tested for durability on two ponies. Reflective beads will be added to the paint at a later stage before being painted onto ponies, sheep and cattle.

"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," she said. The project also has the "full support" of Dartmoor National Park, its head ranger, Rob Steemson said. "These horrible incidents would not happen if motorists drove with greater care and anticipated that Dartmoor grazing stock regularly wander on to the roads," he added.

Earlier this year, Hungerford mayor Martin Crane suggested that grazing cows should be equipped with flashing lights and fluorescent jackets to protect them from speeding motorists. The initiative was shelved after the disco cattle were deemed too costly for the council. In May, a pilot project to fit cows with reflective collars in a bid to prevent them from being hit by cars was launched in Gloucestershire.