Tasmania has been branded as ‘the road kill state’. An apt title considering that Tasmania has the highest incidences of wildlife roadkill in the nation (Magnus et el, 2004). An estimate 293,000 animals are killed on Tasmanian roads each year. Of those, approximately 3,000 Tasmanian devils are killed (3% of the total devil population) making roadkill the second biggest threat to the devil population after Devil Facial Tumour Disease. Examples of every species of Tasmanian native animal can be found dead on the roads: quolls, bandicoots, wedge-tailed eagles..the list goes on. Local newspapers and State government departments frequently receive comments and complaints from visitors to the state expressing concern about the amount of roadkill they have seen on Tasmanian roads.
The obvious solution to reducing the amount of roadkill is changing driver behaviour. Roadside signage aimed at educating drivers about the importance of reducing their speed from dusk to dawn is becoming more common, but needs to be improved. A survey was conducted by roadkiltas.com, with the help of the RACT, asking the readers of the RACT Motor News Journeys to respond to the design of wildlife warning signs. Participants were asked to comment on four different wildlife warning signs; two which are currently used on Tasmanian roads and two new designs. The new designs were of a Devil, face-on, and a wallaby with a joey in its pouch. The majority of respondents rated the face-on Devil as the most effective sign (for images of wildlife signs and full survey results visit: http://roadkill.imaginocean.com.au/info/roadkill-signs-survey-article.pdf)
The TCT in conjunction with the creators of roadkilltas.com are working with DIER to carry out surveys on the effectiveness of signage in roadkill hot spots in relation to changing driver behaviour. Further details of this project will be available on the TCT website next year. Roadkilltas.com is a website that has been created to better educate drivers about sharing the road with wildlife. It also provides locations of roadkill hot spot areas which can be downloaded to a GPS www.roadkilltas.com
In addition, the TCT in conjunction with the Save the Devil Program and roadkilltas.com have designed a flyer educating drivers on how to avoid wildlife on the road. DIER has agreed to send out the flyer with car registration renewals. The design of the flyer is still in the approval stage, but it is hoped that they will be sent out early next year.
The TCT is also planning to launch an advertising campaign in the New Year. We are currently seeking donations to fund a roadkill advertisement to be placed on the back of a Metro bus, similar to the following image. To donate to this campaign, please visit the TCT website: www.tct.org.au