Ozark - the Australian Wildlife Carer's Information & Communications Network

Wed - Sep 06


by Bevan Badcott

Australia is home to many unique animals not found in any other part of the world. Unfortunately many of these animals are only seen by most people when they have become victims of collisions with motor vehicles. This is not only dangerous but can be costly in vehicle repairs not to mention the devastating effect this has on our native wildlife.

What can be done?

There are some simple measures that can be taken to help minimise the risk to both motorist and animals.

Identify Roadkill Hotspots

Take note of wildlife warning signs. They are provided to advise us of known black spots. Slow down when driving in these areas.

Drive slower at night!

Reduce your speed by at least 10km, and scan both sides of the road for wildlife. Animals such as wombats are very hard to see against a black bitumen road, particularly when it is wet.

Each year all sorts of wildlife species, from kangaroos, wallabies and wombats, parrots and birds of prey are orphaned on our roads.

Marsupials may be carrying young in their pouch which can survive the collision only to die a lingering death.

When it is absolutely safe to do so, move dead animals off the road and check pouches for young. This removes the hazard to other vehicles and reduces the risk to animals or birds that may scavenge.

Do not under any circumstances approach an adult injured marsupial, as they can be extremely dangerous when in pain and cannot escape.

General Emergency Procedures

  • Place injured animal in a box with sufficient air in a quiet dark warm place. Turn off car radio and keep noise down to a minimum (many injured animals find it difficult to deal with stress).

  • Do not give food or water.

  • As soon as you have secured the animal call your local wildlife rescue and care organisation for advice.

  • Kangaroos wombats etc - Again, do not attempt to approach a large live animal. Contact your local wildlife rescue and care organisation. If however the animal is dead, check the pouch and carefully remove any baby (joey) and place in a cotton bag or similar. Keep animal warm and quiet. Contact your local wildlife rescue and care organisation.

  • Birds - Place towel over the bird to stop it thrashing around.Pick up with a slow steady movement. A baby bird dislodged from a nest can be placed in an ice cream type container with small holes in the bottom for drainage, and lined with leaves and may be tied to a tree branch close to the nest. Watch to see whether parent birds feed the chick, otherwise call your local wildlife rescue and care organisation.

  • Possums and Bandicoots - Use gardening gloves and a thick towel when picking up injured adult possums, cover and place in a secure box. If the possum is dead, check the pouch for any live joeys. If possum has pouch joey, do not remove, but keep warm and contact your local wildlife rescue and care organisation.

  • Lizards - Make sure when holding in a towel that the entire body is supported.

  • Snakes - Generally are not aggressive and will only attack if threatened. However stay away, keep an eye on it, and contact local wildlife rescue and care organisation.

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