New Roadkill TAS app

​As many motorists in Tasmania are sadly aware, driving between dusk and dawn on the roads comes with the risk of hitting and killing wildlife.  There’s hope a new app will make it easier to report native wildlife roadkill and thus help inform the mitigation techniques required to target hotspots.

The Roadkill TAS app enables users to record sightings of a variety of native wildlife species, including Bennett’s wallabies, pademelons, quolls, Tasmanian devils and birds of prey such as wedge-tailed eagles.

By using this app, and following the instructions and disclaimers, people can report what roadkill they have seen, when and where. The app collects the data in real-time and helps determine where the hotspots are.

Save the Tasmanian Devil Program (STDP) Team Leader and Adjunct Biologist to Toledo Zoo, Dr Sam Fox says the app will assist with adaptive management and mitigation techniques to try to reduce the amount of roadkill on our roads.

“There is a need for consistent data collection and an understanding of where roadkill hotspots are located on Tasmanian roads for all native wildlife,” Sam says.

“This is important - it is not just an app to record devil sightings but a chance to document all species roadkill.”

The Roadkill TAS app uses GPS to allow people to record the exact location of the roadkill sighted. It contains a species information guide that features images of road killed animals alongside images of live animals to help people correctly identify the species and make a report.

It also asks users to record information such as the time and date of the discovery, if the animal is carrying young or if it has had any other markings or distinguishing features, such as mange in wombats or Devil Facial Tumour Disease.

The Roadkill TAS app will be trialed in Tasmania for two years. It was developed by the STDP in conjunction with Thundermaps, a New Zealand-based App development company.

The app’s development was also made possible by a generous donation from the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in Indiana in the United States.

Sam reminded users to be aware of their own safety and surroundings when making a roadkill report.

“It is important to remember that you must never compromise your own safety or the safety of other people travelling with you in the car in order to report roadkill, and remember it is illegal to use the app while driving,” Sam says.

While the app records all native roadkill, it builds on the current formats offered by the STDP for the public to report devil roadkill – including a devil hotline and enquiries to the STDP website.

Sam says roadkill for iconic species such as the Tasmanian devil is a real concern. 
 
“The STDP Roadkill Project began in 2009, and every year between 300-400 devil roadkill deaths are recorded by members of the public.”

“The program has implemented various roadkill mitigation measures in response such as installing road signs to encourage a reduction in travelling speed, the installation of Virtual Fences - an active electronic warning system that detects vehicles approaching at night and emits an acoustic warning with flashing lights to alert wildlife and ongoing public education.”

“The Roadkill TAS app will help build the picture of roadkill hotspots and thus help road managers to determine where mitigation measures should be installed,” Sam says.

“This is adaptive management in action and it allows the community to see and record the roadkill problem as we work together to manage this problem.”

The Roadkill TAS app can be downloaded for free from the iTunes and Google Play stores.

More information about the Roadkill Tas app

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