Appeal over roadkill

Roadkill on the West Tamar Highway.

Roadkill on the West Tamar Highway.

TASMANIA'S native animals are hardy survivors.

This, according to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary director Greg Irons, can be a disadvantage.

"They survive injuries that in other places, the animals wouldn't be alive," Mr Irons said.

"If anyone worked with us for a week they would change the way they drive."

Mr Irons has been running a wildlife rescue service for more than five years.

He said roadkill made up the majority of the service's work.

Research has found about 293,000 animals fall prey to vehicles each year, or an average of one animal every three kilometres.

The same studies have shown that reducing speed greatly reduces the possibility of hitting an animal.

"We're killing far too many animals. People are being very time-poor . . . but at the end of the day, people must be willing to drive a bit slower even if it's just between dusk and dawn.

"If people do accidentally hit them and cause an issue, they also need to be responsible."

Mr Irons said his job was continually heart-wrenching.

"People aren't really aware of what these animals go through after they've been hit," Mr Irons said.

"About six or seven years ago I came across a pademelon with two broken legs - the injuries were at least three weeks old," Mr Irons said.

"It was literally being eaten alive. We euthanised it as soon as possible."

Dr Alistair Hobday was the first to give a total to what the state knew would be alarming figures when he started his research in the early 2000s.

In a world-first, phase three of Dr Hobday's long-term project will trial the effectiveness of voluntary speed reduction at certain times of day on roads throughout the state.

Previous research has shown that the best way to avoid animals on country roads is to drive at 60km/h with lights on low beam or 80km/h on high beam.

The two-year experiment will consist of signed and unsigned phases.

"The cheapest solution is for human behaviour to change," Dr Hobday said.

"People didn't used to like wearing seatbelts in their car - how long did that take to change."

Dr Hodbay said while he had seen only a low reduction in the amount of wildlife killed by vehicles during his time researching the topic, community support for his work was strong.

He said it was crucial that people were able to identify high-density spots, remain aware and learn to slow down.

Mr Irons agreed.

"The conscience has got to kick in," he said.

"Hundreds and thousands of lives are at stake."

Up to 40 rescuers work in the Launceston area but the service is looking for more. People interested in getting involved can contact Bonorong at info@bonorong.com.au or by calling 6268 1184.

If you hit or find an injured animal, Bonorong has a statewide 24-hour wildlife rescue service, call 6268 1184.

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