Push to end devil carnage

STATE and local governments, key stakeholders and locals have come together to raise awareness of the alarming Tasmanian devil roadkill numbers in the state’s far North West.

Alongside the Circular Head Council, Cradle Coast Authority, key industries and other stakeholders, a government-supported campaign is hoping to encourage drivers to slow down in “Devil Country” following increases in the number of Tasmanian devils reported killed on roads in the Woolnorth region.

Woolnorth is home to the largest population of Tasmanian devils in the state and is one of the last regions not impacted by Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).

A statewide database shows there have been 448 dead devils reported since 2004 on Montagu Road, West Montagu Road and Woolnorth Road alone.

Of these, 211 were killed since January 2020.

The campaign will focus on what is known to be the most effective methods to reduce roadkill: driver awareness and slowing down between dusk and dawn.

The State Government has funded the installation of signage in hot-spot locations to alert drivers to the risk and encourage them to slow down.

This initiative will complement a social media campaign, installation of virtual fencing by Circular Head Council, voluntary reduction in speed by Fonterra staff driving in the area, and other actions to help the devil population in the Woolnorth area.

In addition, the Circular Head Devil Roadkill Mitigation Fund has been established to increase awareness and implement important actions identified by the working group to help reduce the number of devils killed on our roads.

There have been four signs recently installed along Woolnorth Rd alerting drivers to slow down for wildlife, and prior to that, Circular Head Council installed new beeper units (“virtual fencing”) designed to scare wildlife off the road.

Additional measures will include community education activities, more signage on the roads, looking at ways to reduce driving speeds, roadkill removal management, roadside slashing, virtual fencing extension and dedicated monitoring to see what is working.

West Montagu wildlife carer Alice Carson said they had recorded more than 100 dead Tasmanian devils in the last 18 months.

“It’s traumatic and more needs to be done to slow cars and trucks down on the road. We can’t lose another ten devils this summer.”