Plan to curb animal bloodshed on Appin Road

Victim: Koala Rosie recovering in 2014 after being hit by a car on Appin Road.
Victim: Koala Rosie recovering in 2014 after being hit by a car on Appin Road.

It’s one of the state’s most notorious roads – with more than 40 motorists fatalities in the past 20 years.

However, Appin Road has also been the scene for more than it’s fair share of animal injuries and deaths.

The trees along the road act as a wildlife corridor for koalas, however, development has seen a number of the trees knocked down.

The loss of habitat has meant the koalas are often forced to run the single lane, 80 km/h road gauntlet, which has also been subjected to more traffic as a consequence of development.

On too many occasions the koalas have failed to cross the road successfully.

Other animals including kangaroos, wombats and echindas – as spotted by one Advertiser journalist late last year – also often make the dangerous decision to cross the road.

However, Campbelltown councillor Karen Hunt (Labor) believed there was a solution to curb the blood spilled by animals along the notorious section of bitumen.

Cr Hunt said those who develop land along the road, and in Gilead, should be required to install fauna exclusion fencing.

The fencing makes it difficult for animals to cross and ushers them to safe crossing points like underpasses and overpasses.

“Growth and development will proceed in this city, there is no doubt about, But it can be done so animals and humans can coexist,” she said.

“Growth and development shouldn’t be at the cost of local fauna.

“Appin Road is dangerous and we need to take steps so local fauna can cross as they search for food and lodging.

“This is essential because development is invading their homes.”

Thou shall pass: An underpass under the Kings Highway which provides a safe passage for animals to cross. Picture: Jay Cronan.

Thou shall pass: An underpass under the Kings Highway which provides a safe passage for animals to cross. Picture: Jay Cronan.

Local wildlife rescue volunteer Ricardo Lonza said the fencing would be beneficial.

“The number (of animals) I rescue on Appin Road is unbelievable,” he said.

“Only last week I went there after a kangaroo was hit. It died when I got there and its legs were completely smashed.

“A lot people die on Appin Road but when wildlife are hit, (motorists) keep on driving. But I care.”

Cr Ben Moroney (Greens) said “it’s a rare person in the community that doesn’t want us to do everything to preserve our wildlife”.

Cr Ted Rowell (Liberal) has been a strong advocate for animals rights in Campbelltown for several years.

The frequent Appin Road user said he had seen too many animal dead bodies lining the side of the road.

“I’ve travelled Appin Road every day for 10 or 12 years and I’ve seen a number of wild animals run over,” he said.

“It’s important … the council identity the correct place to put the crossings.”

Cr Darcy Lound (Labor) said he had witnessed the positive affect the fences had as he made his way along the highway towards Nambucca heads.

“I travelled up there as a teenager and saw a lot of dead wildlife. But I travelled up there (recently) with the fencing (in place) and only saw one dead kangaroo,” he said.

The council will conduct a report into the possibility of enforcing the fauna fencing.

Keep out: A fauna eclusion fence along the Kings Highway which prevents animals from crossing the highway and redirects them to an underpass to safely cross the highway. Picture: Jay Cronan

Keep out: A fauna eclusion fence along the Kings Highway which prevents animals from crossing the highway and redirects them to an underpass to safely cross the highway. Picture: Jay Cronan