Look out for the devil over summer
The summer months in Tasmania are when juvenile devils scatter from their maternal dens and begin their forays into the wild. It’s also a busy period on the state’s road as locals and tourists alike explore the island. All too often, these two incidences collide and the endangered Tasmanian devil ends up as roadkill.
Roadkill is the second biggest threat to the devil, behind the deadly Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD). Devils are particularly hard to see on the road and all drivers should slow down and watch out between dusk and dawn, especially on roads near or through bushland.
Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) Team Leader Dr Sam Fox said devil roadkill data is recorded to allow measures to be put in place at roadkill hotspots.
“Tasmanians and visitors alike are encouraged to report roadkilled devils as the STDP collects data from around the state and uses this information to direct mitigation activities, as well as monitor the spread of disease,” Sam said.
One measure that has been trialled in the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area is the electronic Virtual Fence. When activated by vehicle headlights, alarms on the fence produce a high-pitched noise and a flash of light to try to scare wildlife off the road.
“The post-mounted electronic alarms are positioned on the side of the road at roughly 25 metres intervals,” Sam explained.
“Virtual fence devices alert wildlife to the presence of oncoming traffic, enabling them to move out of the way before being hit by a fast moving vehicle. This includes Tasmanian devils which feed on roadkill.”
“The trial of the system in the Arthur River area reduced devil roadkill numbers from about 280 to under 50 over 18 months. This is heartening news,” Sam said.
The public is encouraged to report any devil roadkill in Tasmania to the Devil Hotline. Send a message (and a photo if possible) to 0427 733 511
Please note - it is important that members of the public never put themselves or others in danger when collecting roadkill information, and never touch roadkill.
For further information on other ways you can help.