by Helen Pryor
Nearly 300 000 native animals are killed on Tasmanian roads every year, and on average, you only have to drive 3km to see roadkill. Of this terrible toll, over 3000 Tasmanian Devils are getting hit and killed.
Thankfully, one Tassie Devil had a lucky escape after a close encounter with a Stornoway vehicle. Our North West Road Operations Works Manager, Ken Williams, tells the story...
“I was on the Cradle tourist road very early one morning. It was very foggy with bucketing rain.
“As I came into the area where signs request you slow down, I did this. But to my surprise, I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a Devil run from the opposite side of the road. And he went right under the ute!
“I turned around where it was safe to find my ‘victim’. After checking his condition, I thought his days were over but I have known Devils to be pretty tough.
“He got a front floor ride in the ute with the heater on (for him, not me) and he spent the next five hours with me as it was so early.
“I got in touch with Parks and Wildlife in Ulverstone and Ben Corey was delighted that I’d taken the time to help the Devil. Ben organised help through a vet they frequently use in Ulverstone.
“Ben stayed in touch to let me know of the Devil’s condition. He called back later that evening for the correct location of where I picked him up so they could release him back into the wild.
“His wounds turned out to be minimal and there were no broken bones so his outcome was very good. This was a vast change from when I put him in the ute as he couldn’t walk!”
Doing your bit on the roads
According to the Roadkill Tasmania web site, most of the wildlife killed on our roads is hit at night. Dawn and dusk, and the first few hours of the night, are the times you’re most likely to encounter animals on the road.
It’s recommended that you drive at 60 km/ hr (or less) on country roads during this time. It will give you a better chance of seeing an animal and being able to slow down safely to avoid it.
The Save the Tassie Devil program is calling on Tasmanians to lend their support by reporting sightings of Tassie Devil roadkill. Check out our useful sites at right for how to do this.
If you see a Tasmanian Devil roadkill west of the Murchison Highway, call or SMS 0427 733 511 immediately.
What to do if you hit an animal
Stop if it’s safe to do so. Remember that female marsupials may have young in their pouches which can be saved, even if the mother has been killed. The most important thing if the animal is injured is to relieve stress. Keep the animal warm in a quiet, dark place when you’re transporting it.
Consider carrying a few important items in your car or truck which make things much easier on you and the animal:
· A towel, pillow case and study box (for placing animals in)
· Beanie (for keeping small animals or babies warm).
There are a number of organisations to contact if you’ve found an injured or orphaned native animal:
· Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment on 6233 6556 during office hours
· The nearest Parks and Wildlife Office
· For after-hours advice on injured or orphaned wildlife, call Bonorong Wildlife Centre on 6268 1184.