Motorists urged to slow down and drive carefully on Forestier Peninsula following devil deaths
Motorists are being urged to slow down in wildlife hot spot areas following the deaths of two Tasmanian devils that were released on 18 November 2015 as part of the re-wilding project on the Forestier Peninsula.
Save the Tasmanian Devil Program Director Dr Howel Williams said the deaths highlight the ongoing threat that roadkill poses to the species.
“We are doing all that we can to mitigate the risk of roadkill, but it remains a real risk and we encourage all road users to play a part in helping the conservation effort,” Dr Williams said.
“If you are driving in a wildlife hot spot area, please take care, especially during the critical periods between dusk and dawn. Reducing speed during these periods is an important way that all of us can assist in the ongoing survival of the Tasmanian devil in the wild.”
Dr Williams said that while these deaths and the deaths of four other devils released in the north of the State recently were disappointing, they had not compromised the Program.
“Recent monitoring at Narawntapu has shown some of the devils have gained weight and appear healthy which is encouraging in these early stages. Information from this initial trial release has been an important part of informing management decisions around wild devil recovery.”
Dr Williams said a number of measures had been put in place to reduce the risk of roadkill around the Forestier Peninsula site where 39 Tasmanian devils from the insurance population were released last Wednesday.
“Sites for the release were specifically chosen that were more remote as part of reducing the risk of them being exposed to major road traffic so soon after release,” Dr Williams said.
“Additionally, feed stations were put around the release site as well as putting devil droppings around the area prior to release as further encouragement to keep them in the area.”
Dr Williams said signage was also in place on the highway advising motorists of the wildlife hotspot area.
Dr Williams said a number of other measures had been implemented to try to further reduce the roadkill risk.
“We have had a wildlife ranger undertake patrols in the area over the weekend and liaising with local police. We are continuing to work with local council and the Department of State Growth to improve road signage and driver awareness. We are also liaising with them over measures such as increasing the number of patrols to remove roadkill from the roads as this can sometimes attract carnivores to roadsides.
“We will continue to liaise with the local community as part of keeping them informed on the work being undertaken and the status of the devil on the Forestier Peninsula.”
Dr Williams said the program was appreciative of the community’s ongoing awareness on the importance of reporting roadkill. The Save the Tasmanian Devil Hotline number to report sightings and roadkill is 0427 733 511.
Peninsula Devil Conservation Project Brochure - Creating a Wild Devil Recovery Zone (PDF, 2.97 MB)
Photograph: One of the 39 Tasmanian devils released on the Forestier Peninsula last week.