News

Roadkill reduction is target of app

By Country News

A new app has been created by University of Sydney's School of Veterinary Science PhD student and researcher Bruce Englefield in an effort to reduce roadkill numbers.

Australians are being encouraged to take a photograph of the dead animals as part of a citizen science project documenting roadkill during October.

Mr Englefield said vehicles were the new predator on the block.

“Animals have no innate survival behaviour to protect themselves,'' he said.

“Vehicles give little warning, travel at a speed unknown in any other predator and kill indiscriminately — a recipe for extinction.”

The Roadkill Reporter app uses a GPS-time-and-date-stamp to estimate the yearly Australian roadkill and identify hot-spots.

Road deaths can contribute to animals such as koalas, wedge-tailed eagles and Tasmanian devils becoming extinct in the wild.

“I got interested in roadkill when I went out one night to rescue a wombat joey that a tourist had found and, even though I was driving carefully, I hit and road-killed a possum on the way home.

“Then, when I started my research on roadkill rescue and how this affects the wildlife carers, I found there were no national data on roadkill numbers or even wildlife carers.

“By getting people involved it will highlight just how serious a problem roadkill is, not only for humans and the animals, but also for the environment and conservation,” Mr Englefield said.

Mr Englefield, 76, is a former Tasmanian of the Year (2008), Australian of the Year Tasmania (2010) and Australian Tourism Small Business Champion (2010). He is also the founder and former chief executive officer of Devil Island Project Inc, a conservation project for Tasmanian devils.

The free roadkill app is available now for iPhone and Android phones.