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Monday, June 21, 2021

Fewer injured animals on ACT roads during COVID

A surprising silver lining of 2020 has been a reduction in injured animal callouts experienced by ACT Parks and Conservation Services (ACT Parks).

ACT Parks and ACT Wildlife respond to animal callouts for injured, sick and orphaned animals in the Territory and have seen a reduction of 60% of callouts between April and July compared to this time last year.

Acting director of Urban Reserves Parks and Conservation Services, Kristy Gould, said she believed a couple of reasons were behind the decrease. 

“It’s interesting because in February we saw our highest number for years. Then there was a drop and we think it was because of a drought break, meaning animals don’t have to move around for food,” she said.

“And given COVID-19 lockdown and working from home, we are seeing less cars on the road.”

ACT Parks handles all kangaroo callouts, while ACT Wildlife respond to other wildlife, with the exception of snakes.

In February this year, ACT Parks responded to 376 callouts, compared to just 159 callouts in August.

Ms Gould said it was usually common to see an increase of callouts in the winter months, as peak hour traffic more commonly coincides with hours animals are moving around – outside of daylight savings.

ACT Parks encourages a level of awareness of the amount of wildlife on Canberra roads.

“Canberra is a real hotspot for kangaroos and sometimes it’s unavoidable. The biggest factor is to get into a safe spot after you have hit wildlife,” she said.

“We don’t need a car accident as well so pull off into a safe spot, turn your hazard lights on and give Access Canberra a call straight away.” 

The organisation also warns drivers to remain vigilant around certain areas of Canberra, especially when between nature reserves that animals will move between.

“They are usually along the main roads like the Monaro Highway and tend to be on the 80 and 100km roads,” Ms Gould said.

“We see them crossing over in between places like Mt Taylor and Farrer Ridge and between Farrer and Wanniassa.

“ACT Roads put a kangaroo fence on part of Drakeford Drive and that has made a pretty big difference.”

Call Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or ACT Wildlife 0432 300 033 to report an injured animal.

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