Sharing the Road with Wildlife
Locals often pinch themselves while making the daily commute on King Island’s roads. Winding through the tea-tree lined green pastures and overlooking pristine beaches, it is a picturesque sight of raw beauty. Unfortunately, however, the sight of roadkill is often a sobering reminder of the hazards our Island’s vast wildlife poses to both motorists and the well-being of the animals themselves.
Due to such a high density of wildlife, Parks and Wildlife Tasmania and King Island Council aim to promote changes in driver behaviour to help reduce the rate of roadkill on King Island.
It is important that both locals and visitors drive according to road signs, as well as the road and weather conditions. Motorists should take extra care and slow down between dawn and dusk as this is when wildlife is most active. Being aware of this could save an animal’s life and avoid damage to one’s car.
For the safety of the driver, passengers and oncoming traffic, do not swerve. This sudden action increases the chance of an accident occurring. If a driver maintains a safe speed, they may be able to further reduce if an animal decides to cross the road, allowing them to steer around the animal in a controlled manner.
If it can be done so safely, motorists are also advised to switch their lights to low beam. High beam can blind animals, which means they cannot see an escape route and are more likely to freeze.
If the animal cannot be avoided safely, the driver may have to hit it to avoid injury or death to themselves and others. If the animal has been killed, remove it from the road if it is safe to do so as the carcass of an animal may be a danger to other motorists and attract scavengers which themselves may become a victim of the next passing vehicle.
If a driver finds a joey in a deceased animal please call the King Island Park Ranger on (03) 6462 1608 or Parks and Wildlife Service on 1300 827 727 for assistance during normal business hours.
Please also avoid throwing food out the car window as this may attract wildlife to the road.
For more information on sharing our roads with wildlife, please see the Parks and Wildlife Tasmania webpage.