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Doing something to stop roadkill

By Valerie Yule - posted Monday, 10 September 2012

The first paragraph of an article in Royalauto on Flinders Island (August 2012, p 35) tells us that any drive at dusk or dawn in remote areas 'will be rewarded only with carnage' of wallabies and pademelons.

Roadkill is driving some species towards extinction all over the world.

There are too many cars and trucks on many more roads than before that go through their habitats. Tunnels and overheads for animals' safe crossing are used in some places. This can help a little at locations where many animals get run over, but does not solve the problem.


At present some people may try to save the wounded and the infants whose mothers are squashed, but that is kindness too late.

A British man eats road-kill as his way of preventing waste, and there are American recipe books. We may be driven to this too.

Or we could do something to prevent roadkill instead of taking it as a fact of life/death.

A speed-limit of forty miles per hour at night and dusk in wild-life country would save accidents as well as roadkill. More careful night-driving through countrysides and slower driving through bushland could prevent so many deaths and so many orphaned creatures.

A campaign to stop carelessness about road-kill could make it shameful to feel proud about how many creatures a driver manages to kill on one trip.

The RACV could ask how many drivers know they have driven over animals, to arouse awareness. Let's have some idea of the tally.


People could put ribbons and flowers around trees near roadkill, as with human deaths, but just slightly different. "Of Tasmanian roadkill, 70 per cent are hit in roadkill blackspots, which only exist on small sections of the road," said scientist Alistair Hobday.

We could ask for inventions. For example, a form of warning animals up to four minutes ahead that a car or truck is coming, used in places and at times that creatures are liable to be hit. Headlights can simply paralyse animals in the middle of the road

Could we have a Peace and Saving Museum? What do people feel is their own greatest collective guilt? There's a lot of it around, not just roadkill. What about a Universal Guilt Day – making a real Day of Atonement – followed by attempts at prevention.

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About the Author

Valerie Yule is a writer and researcher on imagination, literacy and social issues.

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