GPS tracking to save wildlife

03 Feb 2016 Mansfield Courier, Mansfield VIC (General News) VICROADS and the Labor Government have joined forces to run a new trial that will determine where kangaroos and wombats are most likely to become road hazards. Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) announced the trial last week, with VicRoads employees to use GPS technology to log details of road kill found across the state. Kangaroo and wombat strikes are an increasing hazard on Victorian roads and a frustration for motorists, particularly in the summer months, Ms Symes said. Ms Symes said data will be analysed to pinpoint wildlife crossing hot spots and identify areas where drivers are most likely to encounter kangaroos and wombats. Measures such as wildlife corridors, animal underpasses and rope bridges on major roads, already play an active role in minimising the threat and impacts of animals crossing Victorias major roads, she explained. Ms Symes said the data will complement the work already undertaken by VicRoads and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, as well as local wildlife care organisations. This trial is an example of how we can use technology to help address a significant road safety issue while helping us to identify further measures to reduce the risk of harm to drivers, passengers and wildlife, Ms Symes said. We want to ensure that the information we collect will help build a clearer picture of where motorists are most likely to encounter animals on our roads. North East Victoria has been earmarked as one of the worst areas for road kill incidents, with RACV statistics showing that kangaroos were the most commonly hit animals. Peak periods for wildlife collision were the months of April, May and June. The statistics, pooled from RACVs claim and incident files, show that the Mitchell Shire is the worst area for feral animals recording almost 140 insurance claim accidents in 12 months. In the same period, Mansfield recorded 49 18 of those within town. The next most incident prone area was Merton, with six insurance claims due to wildlife, followed by Bonnie Doon and Mount Buller on four incidents each. RACV general manager insurance, Paul Northey, said most incidents occurred early in the morning or between six and nine at night. Most collisions happen during dawn or dusk when there are more people on the roads and animals moving about, he explained. You should also be cautious if there are warning signs advising of wildlife in the area, in areas where new developments may have displaced wildlife, or if you see dead animals on the side of the road. Colliding with an animal not only puts you and your family at risk of serious injury, it can also prove very costly, which is why it is important to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage to repair or replace your vehicle. Once the VicRoads trial is complete, the government will work to implement additional safety measures based on the results, including additional signage or fencing in identified hotspots. The trial is due to be completed by the end of 2016. Copyright Agency licensed copy (