Growing alarm at scale of wildlife collision problem

Published: November 21, 2016
cattle collsion danger

For grey nomads travelling in remote areas, the danger of a nasty collision with some form of wandering wildlife is a real one.

Over the years, caravanners and motorhomers have had their trips changed by unexpected encounters with everything from camels, cows and cassowaries, to wallabies, wombats, emus and horses.

The numbers are quite sobering.

For example, in the Pilbara district of Western Australia some 672 cattle have been hit by vehicles this year alone.

While driver behaviour can always be modified, a meeting of key stakeholders in Broome has concluded that while there are a number of quite complex issues in play,  a lack of fence maintenance is the underlying problem.

Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association (KPCA) chief executive officer Catherine Marriott said the meeting – which included representatives from Main Roads,  The Road Safety Commission, local councils and the police – was intended to find ways  to keep people and cattle safe on the roads.

She said large tracts of road in the Pilbara were completely unfenced and Main Roads Pilbara had funding available for pastoralists to buy materials to construct fences.

“The main issues with fence integrity seem to be gates being left open, fences being washed out in floods, fences being cut, falling trees or the fact that there is no fence there at all,” she said.  “The KPCA is seeking partners to commission a report determining where the fence integrity is lacking, why it is lacking – whether it be cut, opened gates, washed out or fallen over – and from there, to determine ways to prevent cattle getting on the roads.”

Farm Weekly reports that, depending on why the cattle are getting out, suggested solutions include installing cameras on gates to record vehicle number plates and fine offenders, establishing grids, fencing waterways up to bridges so they aren’t washed out, and developing stronger messages for the community.

These techniques will be researched over the next couple of years in different spots to determine which methods are the most effective at keeping people and cattle safe.

  • Do you think there should be tight regulations surrounding the fencing of properties and the maintenance of those fences?  Have you ever had a collision – or a near collision – with wandering wildlife? Comment below.
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John Saunders
5 years ago

If you’re going to drive in the Upper Hunter region of NSW, be prepared for skippies. I’m talking about the New England Hwy and the Golden Hwy. I had to go to Newcastle very early a couple of months ago (4:30am) and had the high-jump bunnies bouncing everywhere when I drove out on Range Rd. Inevitably, one of the silly fellas crossed a ditch, over the verge, onto the road and into the side of me. Fortunately I had slowed right down, seen him coming and moved across – so the dint was small and Skip hopped away with nothing more than a headache. Early morning and late evening are treacherous in this part of NSW, so be careful.

5 years ago

Well if nothing else it underlines the value of an investment in a decent front bar! I don’t think it will get solved soon and there are huge tracts of land, so driving a little slower might also be advised?


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