Drivers are being urged to slow down to avoid collisions with wildlife as daylight hours shrink and winter approaches.
LAOKO (Looking After Our Kosciuszko Orphans – Snowy Mountains Rescue) president Brendan Diacono, says winter is the busiest time for the wildlife rescue group.
Mr Diacono says shorter days and increased winter visitors causes havoc on Snowy Monaro roads.
“As soon as daylight saving ends we see an automatic increase in motor vehicle accidents with wildlife.”
“While there is some grass in the paddocks at the moment, and animals are not forced to come to the side of the road to graze, they do still cross the road regularly.
“And that spells disaster for the animals and drivers, especially at dawn and dusk and at nighttime,” Mr Diacono says.
“It creates a huge amount of work for LAOKO members to rescue orphaned animals, or euthenase injured ones, too seriously injured to be rehabilitated. The police help out, and in the busy winter period, it stretches their resources too.”
Mr Diacono has this advice for drivers.
“Slow down, especially at dawn, dusk and at night time,” he says.
“If you do hit an animal, you should stop to check it, but put your safety first.
“Park the car well off the road, put the hazard lights on, put on a reflective vest if you have one, and then carefully move the animal off the road if you feel safe to do so.
“If the animal is still alive, do not risk an injury to yourself, if you are not confident. Call LAOKO or the police for assistance.”
LAOKO releases rehabilitated animals back into the bush, on to properties away from main roads or adjoining bush reserves or national parks.
“But quite often animals have injuries that mean they would not survive in the wild, so these animals have to be put down. A sad task, but the most humane one,” Mr Diacono says.
Coming into the busy winter season, LAOKO is also hoping more community members can spare a few hours a month help cover the emergency phone.
“Training and support is provided and this is a very important role that people who may not have the time or facilities to care for wildlife can do,” Mr Diacono says.
Call LAOKO on the emergency helpline 6456 1313 to report orphaned or injured wildlife or for more information.
Words by Elena Guarracino