LAST UPDATED: 17 January 2018
Hundreds of thousands of animals are killed each year after being hit by motor vehicles on Australian roads. For many people, their deaths are considered to be sad — but inevitable. However there are ways we can help to save the lives of animals ... and it's easier than you might think.
How to reduce the risk of animal collisions:
Many species of wildlife are most active during these times — particularly kangaroos and wallabies. Avoid driving during these high-risk times if possible, but if you have to do so, please be especially careful — and take it easy around corners.
Give yourself the best chance of seeing animals on the road before it's too late — you can do this by putting your headlights onto high beam if driving more than 80km/hr, or low beam if driving at 60km/hr.
Not only is it bad for the environment (and illegal!) but it can attract wildlife and other animals towards roads — the last place they should be.
If you see wildlife on the road, slow down and pull your vehicle over if it is safe to do so — this will allow the animal time to cross. Be mindful that young animals may not yet recognise your car as a threat — and may need a little extra time to reach safety.
What should I do if I hit an animal, or spot animals on the side of the road?
1. Stop: If it is safe to do so, pull over and check to see if the animal is still alive. Please note that if you spot a clearly visible paint mark or cross on the animal this means they have already been checked by a wildlife carer and there is no need for you to stop.
2. Call for help: If the animal has survived, ensure you have the contact number of a couple of wildlife rescue groups in your area handy so that you can phone them for assistance.
3. Check the pouch: If the animal has sadly not survived, please note that marsupial joeys can live for days in a mother's pouch after she has died. You just might find that you're able to save her joey. Download this brochure from Fourth Crossing Wildlife for instructions on how to safely remove a joey from the pouch.
4. Move the animal away from the road: Dead animals can attract scavenger animals towards the road to feed, and increase the chances of more collisions. You can reduce this risk by moving the dead animal even a few metres away from the road.
We can all play a part in keeping our roads as safe as possible ... for everyone!
By being familiar with these simple tips, you can not only reduce the chances of colliding with animals next time you're on the road — but in the event of a collision, being empowered with the knowledge of what to do next could help an injured animal survive and get the care it needs. Help spread the word by sharing this with your family and friends!
And if you have a passion for helping native animals, take your love for wildlife to the next level by learning how to become a wildlife carer!