Tasmania's reputation as the "roadkill capital of Australia" is damaging the tourism industry, putting drivers at risk and causing "at least half a million" animal deaths every year.
That's the view of Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary rescuer and government-certified carer Ged Lagerewsklj, who is calling for a statewide solution to roadkill.
"There's no policy, there's no real acknowledgement of the problem," he said.
The government's current approach to preventing roadkill puts much of the onus on drivers, with signage urging them to slow down during dusk and dawn in high risk areas.
The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment also encourages drivers to report deaths on the Roadkill TAS app, with data used "to help identify hot-spots in both space and time and inform the identification of appropriate mitigation measures".
"DPIPWE have a consistent message of 'slow down between dusk and dawn' that it believes is important to reduce roadkill numbers," a spokesperson said.
The state has also experimented with "virtual fencing technology", which uses sounds and lights to deter wildlife when vehicles approach, and "under-road culverts" to protect certain species such as little penguins.
A Department of State Growth spokesperson said another mitigation measure was using lighter coloured sealing aggregate "to make dark animals stand out more against the road surface at night" on the Tarkine Drive.
But Mr Lagerewskij doesn't think enough is being done, along with 1303 others who have signed his petition.
A CALL FOR ACTION
The petition calls for more infrastructure-based solutions, such as wildlife rope bridges, wildlife underpass crossings and more virtual fences.
"A range of solutions exist to protect wildlife from vehicle impact, however, the Tasmanian Government has chosen not to employ measures that have been successfully trialled and implemented in other states and overseas," the petition states.
Mr Lagerewskij said these measures needed to be incorporated in the new roadworks announced as a COVID-19 stimulus measure.
"And it's not just about the wildlife. It's about road safety because every time a driver hits an animals there's a potential crash," he said.
The DPIPWE spokesperson said trials into the effectiveness of virtual fencing had "variable" results "ranging from 50 per cent reduction in roadkill to no change detected" and more work was needed before further rollout of the technology.
"The most effective roadkill mitigation has minimal associated cost - i.e. driver awareness and slowing down dusk to dawn," they said.
'A ROLE FOR TOURISM OPERATORS'
West by Northwest chief executive Tom Wootton said he hand't personally heard Tasmania being referred to as "the roadkill capital of Australia".
"However, is there more we could be doing to improve our approach to roadkill? Yes there is," he said.
"Other states have been very proactive in their approach to roadkill. Tasmania hasn't done nothing but there is more to do."
Mr Woottton said there was also "a role for tourism operators" to play in preventing roadkill, primarily by educating visitors about the risks of hitting animals during dawn and dusk.
Labor MLC Josh Willie sponsored the roadkill petition and said it had "a real merit", particularly in relation to safety.
"Before the pandemic we had a lot of tourists on the roads, we had a lot of Tasmanians travelling around the state so there's a real issue in terms of road safety," he said.
"And I think there's a real positive benefit in the protection of wildlife."
Mr Willie said the government should explore integrating roadkill mitigation measures in road COVID-19 infrastructure upgrades.
"We're a tourism state and making sure our environment is pristine and appealing to tourists is really important," he said.
The Department of State Growth said road maintenance contractors "regularly inspect the state road network and remove any roadkill as necessary".
"Major highways are inspected twice a week, while other roads on the state road network are checked once a week," a spokesperson said.