Spotlight on wildlife road trauma

Wildlife carers are optimistic that more can be done to prevent wildlife road trauma as Macedon Ranges Council moves to investigate the issue.
Spearheading the move at council’s September ordinary meeting, Cr Natasha Gayfer said wildlife road trauma had been raised with council several times over the past four years and was in need of urgent attention.
“These areas have some of Victoria’s most distinctive wildlife habitat and is home to a broad range of native species,” Cr Gayfer said.
“Speed might be a factor and there might other measures that we could take, or advocate for to state government, to address this issue. I would like to see a plan in place to address it sooner rather than later.”
Insurance companies such as AAMI and RACV have repeatedly listed Gisborne and Woodend among the top animal collision hot spots in Victoria.
Cr Gayfer sought a report on the current planning and management of roads to reduce wildlife road trauma, along with advice on required resources for a review of best practice actions to make improvements.
Council also acknowledged recent community concern flagged for hot-spots along Gap Road (Riddells Creek to Cherokee), Shannons Road (New Gisborne), Sandy Creek Road (Riddells Creek) and Cherokee Road (between Cherokee and Kerrie).
An online petition to address these localities launched by Cherokee local John Power recently gained more than 700 signatures.
Macedon Ranges Wildlife Network has also identified numerous wildlife collision hot-spots including Ashbourne Road (Woodend), Black Forest Drive (Macedon), Donalds Road (Woodend), Romsey Road, Redesdale Road and Edgecombe Road.
Wildlife rescuer Manfred Zabinskas (pictured) said speed and awareness were among the big factors in wildlife road collision.
“One of the most frustrating things is that we know where all the wildlife get hit because they often get hit at the same places. Animals like kangaroos are very predictable in where they cross the road,” he said.
“It’s hard to get road speeds reduced and speed is one of the biggest issues: people don’t want to drive slower and be held up for a few extra seconds.”
Mr Zabinskas runs the Five Freedoms Animal Rescue in Trentham and specialises in the care and rehabilitation of larger wildlife like kangaroos, which have been the most commonly injured creatures on local roads.
Macedon Ranges Wildlife Network worked with Macedon Ranges Council in 2018 to trial large, green animal warning signs and cautionary road lines at high wildlife collision points on Ashbourne Road (pictured).
Being distinctly different from traditional yellow diamond signs featuring a kangaroo, the signs aimed to heighten driver awareness.
Woodend wildlife rescuer Gwyn Beaumont, who assisted with the project, said it had been successful in the early stages but was no longer having the same impact.
“For a while that made a big difference, it was a talking point and the traffic did slow down along that section of road, but then, as always, people get used to things and stop noticing them and they did stop having the impact,” she said.
“The number of roos that we attend has been increasing and the vast majority of animals that we respond to are injured as a result of car collisions.”
Ms Beaumont and Mr Zabinskas also referenced the displacement of wildlife during new developments and are keen to see consideration given to wildlife-friendly fencing requirements for developments.
A report into current road safety measures and ways forward will be presented to a future council.

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