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Drought behind surge in road kill

TOO CLOSE: A wallaby on the edge of the Wide Bay Hwy searching for green grass was unfortunate to get hit by a car. A parched landscape has many animals straying close to roads desperate for a meal.
TOO CLOSE: A wallaby on the edge of the Wide Bay Hwy searching for green grass was unfortunate to get hit by a car. A parched landscape has many animals straying close to roads desperate for a meal. Patrick Woods

DESPERATE drought-affected animals looking for food are straying near the region's busy roads, often with fatal consequences.

Glastonbury wildlife carer Paula Rowlands has 40 years experience caring for native animals and said the drought was behind the sudden spike in road kill and injured animals.

"Carers everywhere are overloaded at the moment," she said.

"There's definitely more animals being killed and injured on the roads."

As bushland dries out and green grass becomes rare, hungry animals are attempting to forage on the fringes of busy highways.

Common causalities include kangaroos, echidnas, possums and wallabies.

Heading into winter and with such little summer rain, Ms Rowlands expected the situation to worsen.

"Winter frosts make the problem worse, browning off even more grass," she said.

The Wildlife Care Australia Cooloola and Gympie volunteer understood accidents happened but implored drivers to be alert and reduce the chances of an animal strike.

"Just on dark and at night is the worst time," Ms Rowlands said.

"People just don't see them, but be alert and stick to the speed limit."

Should a collision with an animal occur, the animal carer said it was illegal to leave an animal dying.

Instead, pull safely off the side of the road and ring a carer who can assist. If the animal has been killed, it should be removed from the road to not only avoid attracting other animals, but also to remove a potential obstacle for other motorists.

For nursing newborns still attached to the teat, Ms Rowlands said the teat had to be cut. "Trying to pull the animal off can injure it," she said.

Wildlife Care Australia Cooloola and Gympie may be contacted on 5484 9111 - a new number.

Gympie Times

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