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Issue #1674      February 25, 2015

Tasmanian Devil roadkill fatalities

My son Andreas and I were recently in Tasmania visiting family and travelling around the northwest of the state. On our second day there (January 26) we were driving from Ulverstone towards Cradle Valley and Dove Lake early in the morning via Sprent and Upper Castra. After we turned right at the turnoff to Wilmot, just past the Cradle Mountain lookout on the left (and a few kilometres from Wilmot) we saw a dead Tasmanian Devil by the side of the road. We stopped the car and went to examine it. There was no other traffic on this straight section of road. It was a young female without any signs of the Devil Facial Tumour. We took some photographs and then moved its body further off the road.

A short time later as we drove into Wilmot, less than half a kilometre from the centre of the town (the cafe and shop) we noticed another dead Devil by the side of the road. This was on a flat piece of road and I parked as best I could on the side of the narrow road, right next to an Apple tree growing on the nature strip. This dead Devil was smaller and younger than the last Devil we had seen previously. It also showed no trace of the Facial Tumour Disease. We took a couple of photographs. We forgot to check the sex of this Devil, but moved it off to the side of the road before continuing on.

It is very distressing and tragic that these two otherwise healthy young Devils died on the road. At a time when the Devil Facial Disease is decimating their populations, these healthy Devils are precious to the endangered species in the wild, so it is incredibly unfortunate that they were killed, though it is very encouraging that there are clearly healthy populations of Devils that still remain disease free in parts of Tasmania.

Though such tragic roadkill incidents can never be totally eliminated, it would be good to see further measures taken to try and curtail these extra appalling losses of these animals, like warning signs and traffic calmers on roads in known areas of Tas. Devil population hotspots. This may lessen the decline of these valuable Devils and be a positive step in helping their recovery.

Sadly too many Tasmanian Devils are still being killed by vehicles on the roads. It is of course very important to do whatever is possible to insure as many of these newborn Devils survive into adulthood. Hoping the tremendous ongoing efforts to save the threatened Tasmanian Devil are successful and we once again see them thriving in their natural habitat.

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