proves effective in its first Australian peer-reviewed study
29th November 2018
In an Australian-first, Wildlife Safety Solution’s Virtual Fencing technology has been proven to have a significant impact on reducing roadkill events of Australian native species.
A peer-reviewed paper this week released the results of a three-year trial at a roadkill hotspot on the remote North-West Coast of Tasmania, concluding that the use of Virtual Fencing technology reduced roadkill events in the test area by a substantial 50 per cent.
Lead author of the paper, Dr Samantha Fox from the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP), said the study shows that the Virtual Fencing devices have a significant impact on reducing the roadkill of Australian native species.
“Tasmania has an abundance of medium-sized, nocturnal macropods and this together with narrow windy roads and fast speed limits, results in a high roadkill rate,” Dr Fox says. “We studied roadkill on a single stretch of road on the west coast for a three-year period to determine whether virtual fence devices are effective in reducing roadkill.
“The results show a reduction in total roadkill, and that of the common species (pademelons and bennetts wallabies), by 50 per cent. This suggests that these devices have enormous potential to substantially reduce roadkill rates,” Dr Fox says.
Wildlife Safety Solution’s Jack Swanepoel said that while the Virtual Fencing technology has had proven results in the US and Europe on a variety of different wildlife since 2003, this is the first time its effectiveness has been documented on Australian wildlife and in Australian conditions.
“We’re very excited that the Virtual Fencing technology has been independently proven to reduce incidence of roadkill of Australian native animals,” Mr Swanepoel says.
“Roadkill is a huge issue right across Australia, but particularly in Tasmania, and especially for some vulnerable species, including the Tasmanian Devil and the Spotted-Tail Quoll. We hope that our Virtual Fencing technology can be a part of the solution to protecting Australia’s endemic wildlife.”
The study found that the easy-to-install Virtual Fencing devices can have “a significant impact on the ecological, economic and social impact of wildlife roadkill” and should be considered by “local councils and road managers of other states” that have known roadkill issues and hotspots.
The paper observes that the reduction of roadkill shown in this study indicates the Virtual Fencing provides an advanced warning to wildlife in the vicinity of the road.
Noting that mitigating roadkill hotspots is an important conservation tool, the paper concludes: “The obvious reduction in roadkill in this trial of Virtual Fencing technology is encouraging and should support the rollout of these devices in other identified roadkill hotspots in Tasmania.”
The paper, ‘Roadkill mitigation: trialling virtual fence devices on the west coast of Tasmania’ was published in the Journal of Australian Mammalogy on 27 November 2018.
To access the full article please visit the Australian Journal of Mammalogy here:
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