Every year, thousands of native animals are killed or injured on Victoria’s roads.
Over six weeks in the school holidays from December 2021 to January 2022, Wildlife Victoria responded to 1,131 reports of wildlife being injured or killed by vehicles.
Of these reports, more than 60 percent were of eastern gray kangaroos and swamp wallabies.
The number of road-related accidents is increasing year on year with 663 calls in the same period in 2019-2020 and 559 calls in 2018-2019.
The impact that vehicles have on our wildlife is evident in only five cases reported in 2020-2021, when state travel restrictions were in place.
As Victorians prepare to hit the roads this holiday period, Wildlife Victoria shares some simple tips for keeping ourselves and our wildlife safe.
One effective way to reduce road-related wildlife accidents is to slow down.
Studies by the Center for Motor Vehicle Safety Research conducted by the University of Adelaide have shown that reducing speed by just 10 per cent has the potential to reduce vehicle accidents by 20 per cent.
Try to avoid driving at dusk and dawn. Native animals are most active at these times, as well as throughout the night. If this is not an option, motorists should reduce their speed again, remain alert, and clear the road ahead until they have time to slow down and steer safely around any animals on or near the road.
If a motorist strikes an animal, when it is safe to do so, they should stop and call Wildlife Victoria’s Emergency Response Service on 03 8400 7300.
This phone line is monitored by trained Wildlife Emergency Response Operators 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
The wildlife emergency response operator will advise the motorist of the vehicle on the next steps, which may include asking the driver to specify whether or not the animal has a bag.
This is important information, especially at this time of year many of our kangaroos have a pouchyoung.
A bag can live for several days after the death of its mother, so it is very important to check the bags as soon as possible.
Wildlife Victoria emergency response operators can advise callers on how to safely carry out a bag check, or send wildlife rescuers into the field to check bags when necessary.
On Christmas Day last year, a motorist from outside Bendigo called Wildlife Victoria to report a deceased kangaroo on the side of the road.
A wildlife emergency response worker instructed a motorist how to safely perform a marsupial pouch check and, to his surprise, found a still-living baby joey in its mother’s pouch. Lucky Joey was taken care of by a caregiver at Wildlife Victoria, and was later able to release him back into the wild.
In addition to the emergency response service, Wildlife Victoria also has a Free Traveling Vet Service (TVS) on call that can be dispatched to assess injured wildlife on site in Melbourne’s outer east.
The mobile veterinary service is fully equipped to perform roadside assessments, triage and treatment which significantly reduces diagnostic time and animal suffering, and improves health outcomes for treatable wildlife.
TVS also plays an important role in supporting Wildlife Victoria Volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitation Volunteers, providing them with a comprehensive and free veterinary service of home visits to wildlife in care.
Wildlife Victoria is currently fundraising to increase its veterinary travel service from one vehicle to three.
This increase will allow to serve additional areas of the state, reduce first response times to wildlife emergencies, and close a critical gap in wildlife processing around the clock. Donations can be made at wildlifevictoria.org.au/donate