Roadkill Tasmanian devil
What is the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program Roadkill Project?
We launched the Roadkill Project
in 2009 with the aim of collecting information about devil roadkill around the state that would allow us to determine how significant the threat of roadkill is to Tasmanian devil populations, particularly those populations decimated by Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).
The aims of the Roadkill Project are to identify roadkill hotspots so we can consider mitigation in these areas, continue to monitor the spread of DFTD, monitor persistence of devils in the landscape and, ultimately, to reduce Tasmanian devil roadkill. Involving the public helps greatly to extend our limited resources.
Since the project started we have received reports of over 5,000 road-killed devils (between 350 and 450 each year) so it’s important we understand where and when devils are being hit in order to develop mitigation strategies to reduce the number of devils being killed on the road.
What should I do if I see a roadkill devil?
Fill out details of where and when you saw the roadkill on our online report form - an accurate location can be provided by entering the lat/long or easting/northing for the roadkill site. Most mapping apps will provide lat/longs for a location.
When I report a roadkill devil will the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program collect the animal?
The Program will only collect animals that are ‘of interest’ – that is, they relate to a specific project we are running.
Why is roadkill such a problem for Tasmanian devils?
Firstly, because they eat carrion, so any dead animals on the road attracts them. To them the road smells like a restaurant.
Secondly, like us, devils travel along roads, it’s an easy way to get somewhere quickly.
Tasmanian devils in particular are very hard to see against a black road surface, especially when it is wet.
Studies suggest that to be able to see a devil and stop in time a driver should be doing no more than 54km/hr. Most people travel about twice that speed on our country roads.
What is the most effective thing that I can do to prevent Tasmanian devil roadkill?
Take care while driving at night and slow down between dusk and dawn.
Everyone can make a difference and help prevent Tasmanian devils being killed on our roads by following these simple things so spread the word.
What time of the year does most roadkill happen?
Between late spring and the end of summer is the worst time of year for Tasmanian devils because this is the time when naive juveniles are dispersing – leaving home to find a home range of their own. Unfortunately, more devils on the move means more devils on the roads. To make matters worse, this coincides with an increase in traffic from summer visitors.
Another time that is critical in the life cycle of the Tasmanian devil is from around April to August when females are either pregnant or carrying pouch young. If an individual female was killed on the road during this period it could potentially mean the loss of five individuals.