Road kill

Leaving the main road allowed me to reflect on one of the unpleasant side effects of mankind’s ‘progress’. Every Australian who drives on a rural road (and even when on some suburban streets) knows our native animals make unexpected crossings. One minute the road is clear and then the next second something is running or hopping in the path of your vehicle. I was startled by the number of newly dead animals and birds, and the number of different aged skeletons of their ancestors, which had been on or beside the road in the first few kilometres of my walk along the Derwent River.  In a car, you are on and off the dead animal in a split second and your brain has little time to process what you have just seen and felt.  But at a walking pace I had lots of time to look at their remains and think.

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I think these little fellows might have been Bennett’s Wallabies.

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The remains of two different birds; the first photo shows what was once a cheeky curious flitting male Blue Wren, second photo shows what was once a lively little Silver Eye with his olive green head.

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The long tail indicates this skeleton is the remains of a wallaby.

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Once healthy and vitally alive possums.

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One landowner was determined that possums should not run up his trees. Clearly, if possums cannot climb their natural habitat and sleep safely, then the chances of them attempting to cross roads and be killed are increased.

I noticed other ‘skeletons’ on road verges: man-made objects also ended their lives in patterns similar to those of animal skeletons.

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Of course these hubcaps are not biodegradable and won’t break down easily and return to the earth as renewable energy.

It seems we accept everything is expendable.

4 thoughts on “Road kill

  1. RuthsArc

    I can’t “like” this post but it is interesting. The high incidents of road kill were quite a shock when I first came to Tassie. Now after driving at dusk I can understand the dangers to both animals and drivers.

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    1. Tasmanian traveller Post author

      I didn’t like seeing the animals and birds at the comparatively slow pace of walking. Because I was slow the enormity of the situation really struck me. Unfortunately, I can’t see how this problem can be overcome and, as you say, there are dangers for everyone at night on the road.

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  2. theoldfellowgoesrunning

    Different animal species, but the very same story. There is a lot of roadkill as well in Canada. A collision with the larger animals such as deer, bear and moose have at times totaled vehicles and have caused significant injuries and sometimes death to the occupants of the cars. It is often being addressed, prompts to reduce speeds during predawn and postdusk when animals like deer and moose often move around. On one busy highway north of here, where there is a huge population of deer, there are solar powered motion sensors wired to large amber coloured flashing lights, which flash when the movement of a deer triggers it. This was a pilot project that covered a stretch about 30k’s. By the sounds of it, it has greatly reduced car/deer mishaps. 🙂
    ~Carl~

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    1. Tasmanian traveller Post author

      I like the sound of those motion sensors. In a whimsical split second, I wondered if the cars also trigger the light and alert the deer – a two way help. On mainland Australia, the bigger than man-sized kangaroos and the emus cause similar havoc and people do die. In places in our Northern Territory, wild buffalo roam across thousands of acres of unfenced areas and can step out in a moment from grasses taller than them and a vehicle. Guess this is an international problem.But the movement sensors sound immensely practical. I like them yet all creatures choose their point of road crossing. Hmmm. Not easy.

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