NSW Government appeals for greater awareness of animals on country roads

This koala was hit on Coramba Road, Coffs Harbour. She was still alive when WIRES arrived. Her horrific wounds meant she was euthanised straight away.

TRANSPORT for NSW (TfNSW) has launched its annual ‘Animals on country roads’ public education initiative to help remind motorists to drive safely around animals.

Between 2013 and 2022 there were a total of 1,423 crashes with an animal in NSW, resulting in 25 people dying and a further 1,592 people being injured.

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TfNSW Deputy Secretary Sally Webb said driving or riding on country roads can present unique challenges due to the presence of wildlife and livestock.

Animals can appear suddenly and behave unpredictably, especially at dusk and dawn when they are more active.

“Simple things everyone can do include slowing down, staying alert, following warning signs and being aware that animals are often more active around water holes, as well as harder to see at sunrise and sunset,” Sally said.

“By taking some extra care you will be protecting both human lives and our wildlife.”

To help reduce the risk of a crash and keep everyone safe, motorists should always do the following:

– Reduce your speed when driving through areas where wildlife is known to be active;

– Keep an eye out for animals on or near the roadside;

– Stay alert near waterholes and creeks, where animals tend to gather;

– Remember that animals are harder to see at sunrise and sunset;

– Take note of warning signs alerting you to the presence of animals in the area.

“One in every 40 casualty crashes on country roads involves a vehicle hitting an animal.

“Animals like kangaroos and cattle are often close to the road and can be unpredictable, which is why it’s important that all drivers take care around animals on our roads,” she said.

WIRES’ Koala Coordinator Zaiga Deist told News Of The Area which species are more commonly impacted by road strikes.

Kangaroos and wallabies jump out from grass verges while grazing, especially at dusk and dawn.

Snakes and lizards, mostly in rural areas, and when sunning themselves on the tarmac.

Bandicoots and possums get confused and dart back and forth on the road in the dark.

Koalas can be in hotspot areas in town and on the highway.

When echidnas are active, they are vulnerable.

At night owls and tawny frogmouths are often on the road and get dazzled by headlights.

Ducklings and adult ducks crossing roads in town.

“Be alert at dusk and dawn for animals running out and slow down at these times,” she said.

“If you see an animal on the road, dip your headlights and slow to allow them to fly or move off.

“If snakes are cold they may be slow and need time to leave the road.”

If you do hit an animal, always stop and check its condition.

“If it is alive, call WIRES or during the day wrap it in a towel, if safe to do so, and take it to the nearest vet,” Zaiga said.

If it is a wallaby or kangaroo, check the pouch for babies even if the mother is dead.

“At WIRES we don’t judge whose fault it is and would rather you call us than leave it injured,” Zaiga said.

“If you can’t stop, pull over as soon as safe and call WIRES with a location.

“If safe, move dead animals off the road as birds of prey can get hit while eating roadkill.”

Zaiga reminds drivers in regional and rural towns, when going by ponds and creeks, to look out for ducks crossing with ducklings.

“They are really small to see, and parents will get hit rather than fly when protecting their young.”

TfNSW’s campaign is a reminder to all drivers to be vigilant and cautious when traveling on country roads, especially in regions known for wildlife activity.

Social media, radio and digital displays are now rolling out to remind motorists how to stay safe around animals on the roads.


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