Drought leads to increase in roadkill incidents

Macarthur farmers are not the only ones struggling to cope in the statewide drought – native wildlife are also doing it tough.

The drought, among other reasons, has led to an increase in the number of wildlife being killed on Wollondilly and Camden roads recently.

Wollondilly Council’s environmental education officer Damion Stirling said there had been an increase in the number of incidents of roadkill in the past 18 months.

“More recently, the drought has probably caused wildlife to go on the move in search of food or water,” he said.

“Other reasons could also be the change in land use and more development.

“Also the recent fires at Holsworthy and hazard reduction burns cause animals to disperse.”

The council had 60 roadkill pick-ups from January to June this year.

However, it is likely two to three times that number were killed because many of the pick-ups were not officially reported.

A Camden Council spokesman said during extended dry periods, “there was usually an increase in the number of native animal carcasses reported to councils”.

“This is due to native animals seeking feed closer to roadsides,” he said.

“Since January, there have been 46 deceased native animals reported to the council, with the most (nine) recorded in May.

“Kangaroos and wallabies are the most frequently recovered native animals, with Cobbitty Road and Macquarie Grove Road having the highest reported numbers in the past six months.”

Kangaroos, wombats, wallablies, wallaroos and koalas are most frequently killed in Wollondilly.

“The drought has probably made wildlife come closer to or cross over extended corridors like Appin Road and Picton Road,” Mr Stirling said.

“Animals usually like to graze on rural pastures because the grass is lusher,” he said.

“The drought is likely causing animals to come out of the bush into areas where there might be more grass.”

The increase in roadkill incidents has prompted Wollondilly Council to work with Local Land Services to create and use a new smartphone app to record roadkill data.

“The app will help us record the hotspots areas,” Mr Stirling said.

“Then we can look at installing signage to make people more aware that native wildlife might be on the roads.”

Mr Stirling said reducing the number of roadkill, especially koalas, and educating residents on what to do if they do hit an animal, were high priorities for the council.

He reminded residents to slow down during dawn and dusk when animals are more likely to be on the move.

Drivers who hit an animal should call WIRES or Sydney Wildlife Rescue on 1300 094 737 or 9413 4300.