Speed the key to reducing wildlife road kill
ADVOCATE reader Lex Stewart has responded to a letter to the Editor about koalas being hit and killed on our roads.
Road kills are distressing
Road kills of animals are distressing, and can to some extent be reduced.
I was Road Safety Manager in the RTA western region from 1990 to 1997, then in the northern region.
In my bronze-medal-winning film on Country Driving, I said kangaroo roadkills can be reduced markedly by keeping vehicle speeds down to 80kph, because scientific research showed that it gives the kangaroo enough time to hear the approaching vehicle, then to react, sometimes this way and then that way.
However, we obviously cannot drive at 80kph all the time in the huge distances of western and northern NSW, but we can do 80kph on occasions when near kangaroo 'hotspots', such as thickly-vegetated creeks, and at high-risk times (sunrise and sunset).
For koalas, I know of no similar scientific research, but can suggest that at 'hotspots' the lower the speed the better, and that reasonable sums of money be spent on better roadside fencing.
I am amused by the inherent contradiction between popular claims that koalas are in danger of extinction (i.e. numbers are decreasing) and the increased frequency of koala roadkills, which can only happen if koala numbers are large and increasing.