Wildlife Victoria, the state’s wildlife emergency rescue service, is urging drivers to take extra care on the roads this summer. Every year thousands of native animals are killed on Victorian roads.
The non-profit organisation is anticipating a deadly summer of road trauma for native animals, with more holiday makers taking to unfamiliar roads after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
In partnership with TAC and Yarra Trams and with the pro bono support of major media outlets, Wildlife Victoria’s campaign reminds us that a safe drive saves our wildlife.
Wildlife Victoria chief executive Lisa Palma said that our wildlife are particularly vulnerable this summer.
“With so much of their habitat destroyed during bushfires, we expect to see more animals foraging for food on roadside verges,” Palma said in a statement. “This applies to both country roads and in other areas where wildlife is active such as the outer, newer suburbs of cities and towns.”
During the festive season, many Victorians and interstate visitors may be venturing on a road trip for the first time.
Some people would be unaware that the period between dusk and dawn is a particularly dangerous time to be on the road, because much of our wildlife is venturing out at these times in search of food, Wildlife Victoria said.
“So many native animals’ lives were lost in the horrific bushfires last summer,” Palma said.
“Those that survived are just getting back on their feet. We need everyone to look out for them. Especially in country Victoria, we are asking drivers to remember you are driving on more than just a road. You are driving through the home of our wildlife. And it is your responsibility to drive safely to protect them.”
Palma said Wildlife Victoria’s road safety campaign would not have been possible without significant support from TAC, Yarra Trams and the many media outlets who had provided advertising space at no cost to Wildlife Victoria.
Campaign supporters include: TAC, Yarra Trams, Vic Roads, MEDIACOM, Network Ten, Southern Cross Austereo, Nine Network, Seven Network, WIN Network, 3AW, TRSN, Joy FM, Spots and Spaces, Croc Media, ARN, Val Morgan, Nova 100, ATN, The Media Shop, VMO Outdoor, oOh! Media, QMS, Shopper Media, JC Decaux, MediaBanc, Herald Sun, Geelong Advertiser, Weekly Times, Regional Media Connect, ACM, BOFB and Nine Publishing.
“In addition to this amazing support, SBS Radio have translated the campaign into 15 languages, allowing us to deliver this road safety message even more widely across our diverse Victorian community,” Palma said.
Wildlife on roads is a huge safety concern for drivers and passengers. Animal collisions account for around 5–6 per cent of road accidents and it is thought that this is under-reported. Of the accidents that resulted in serious injury for the driver or rider, more than half involved motorcyclists.
Hitting a large animal such as a kangaroo or wombat while travelling at speed can result in injuries to passengers and cause major damage to the vehicle.
In most cases the animal does not survive or is severely injured and must be euthanised.
Roadkill impacts the Australian environment by wiping out more than four million mammals and six million birds, reptiles, and other creatures a year. Kangaroos, wombats, wallabies and emus are most at risk on our roads, but drivers are also asked to look out for birds, possums, lizards and echidnas while driving, Wildlife Victoria said.
While in many cases an accidental collision may be unavoidable, drivers can keep themselves and our native wildlife safe, by being alert and aware and reducing speed. (See a full list of recommendations on how to avoid a collision on the next page).
Reducing speed reduces the risk of all types of collisions, including hitting animals on the road, so drivers are urged to slow down in areas where wildlife is active. A driver can reduce the likelihood of a road accident by 20 per cent by simply reducing 10km per hour off their speed.
More details are available on our website at www.wildlifevictoria.org.au/drive-safely
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