Every grey nomad who has been on the roan more than a day or two will be familiar with the huge scale of the roadkill issue in Australia.
After the first few dead kangaroos, eagles, and possums, it is easy for travellers to become ‘normalised’ to the seemingly endless wildlife carnage. However, all road users are being urged not so see roadkill as something that they should blindly accept as being just the way it is.
As part of an initiative to discover what measures could be taken to address the problem, the Tasmanian government the launched a Roadkill TAS smartphone app back in 2018.
The ABC reports that the trial, which concluded in August 2021, was meant to ‘assess whether citizen science data collected through this approach could usefully inform roadkill mitigation approaches’.
The data collected from the app and from other sources by the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) was sobering. There were 59,990 reports of roadkill. Almost 37,000 red-necked wallabies were logged, followed by 11,000 brushtail possums and 4,700 Tasmanian pademelons. Just under 950 Tasmanian devils were also reported.
Also reported were quolls, tawny frogmouths, hawks, little penguins, potoroos, bandicoots, echidnas, and platypuses.
It has been estimated that, on average, around 32 animals die every hour on Tasmania’s roads — a rate faster than a death every two minutes
President of the Tamar Valley Roadkill Initiative, Bruce George, told the ABC that people needed to stop accepting that roadkill is just a normal part of life.
“Many people believe that we have grown up with roadkill and the apparent apathy displayed is because people are conditioned to living with it,” he said. “Static signage needs to be replaced with signs that are aimed at speed reduction showing a vehicle’s approaching speed.
Mr George said that perhaps things could go further, and lower speeds in wildlife corridors could be made enforceable.
“I have heard many criticisms from tourists expressing their shock at the level of roadkill in this state,” he said. “On a half-a-kilometre stretch of a 60km/h straight road in front of our accommodation we counted 24 wallaby carcasses over the Christmas break alone … that’s appalling.”