Road kill is an increasingly common sight on Whittlesea roads with Australia’s iconic fauna dying at a higher rate than ever.
The latest RACV Insurance claims data reveals a 16 per cent increase in cars hitting an animal in Whittlesea last year compared to the year before – up from 154 in 2013 to 179.
The insurance provider has labelled it the “highest-risk area” for collisions with animals in Melbourne’s north.
Wildlife Victoria chief executive Karen Masson described the statistics as “distressing”, and said the charity organisation faced an uphill battle to ensure kangaroos were not landlocked by new housing developments.
She said the wildlife rescue service has been trying to co-ordinate a plan with councils and the state government for the past three years, but “common species” of wildlife did not rate highly on official priority lists and no progress had been made.
Ms Masson attributes the spike in injured wildlife last year to the completion of a number of housing developments in the area.
Wildlife Victoria statistics show that volunteers responded to almost 1120 injured kangaroos in Whittlesea in the 2014-15 financial year.
“This is both a public health issue and a wildlife welfare issue, which Wildlife Victoria is left to deal with on a daily basis, including the growing direct cost of darting many of these animals to enable their safe recovery from dangerous environs,” Ms Masson said.
The charity recently approached developer AV Jennings to help work out a solution. She said the developer was keen to help – unlike Whittlesea council, which she said had been reluctant to meet with Wildlife Victoria.
“The only solution here is for us all to work together,” Ms Masson said.
Whittlesea council’s local laws manager, Wayne Bullock, said council rangers were not trained to care for injured wildlife. “Wild animals become easily stressed and need to be treated by an expert, such as a vet or wildlife carer,” he said.
The federal agriculture department website cites state and territory governments as being responsible for animal protection and welfare.