Council Services / Community

Save the Tasmanian Devil

Cars are a real threat for Tasmanian Devils, and the last thing that Devils need right now, is another threat to their life. In low light CSIRO research found Devils were the most difficult of all native animals for vehicle drivers to see!

In recognition of the importance of this issues, a number of Tasmanian councils are partnering with the State and Federal Governments, this includes Dorset and George Town councils. 

SAve  the Tassie Devil Figure 1
Figure 1: Since 2009 over 1000 devils have been reported as killed on Tasmanian Roads

Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, is a joint Tasmanian and Federal Government initiative, that commenced in 2003 in response to the facial tumour disease infecting Tasmanian Devils. 

Save the Tassie Devil - Figure 2

In 2009, the Roadkill Project  was added, since that time, sadly over 1000 reports have been made by the public of Devils killed on our roads.  But the information reported by members of the public is being used to manage our Devil populations in the best way possible at what may turn out to be a turning point for the species.  For more information on the Roadkill project visit the web link in Figure 2.    

To help the Devils, Dorset and George Town Councils have been installing road signage, like that shown above, urging the community to slow down between dusk and dawn. Trailer mounted programmable LED signs have also been used on roads in the Stony Head Devil release site – where healthy Devils are released.  The signs remind motorists to be particularly aware at night. The image in Figure 3 shows a healthy Devil being released after monitoring in the Narawntapu area near port Sorell. The image was supplied courtesy of the Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. 

 Dorset and George Town Councils have also been assisting with the installation of a new technology at selected road kill hot spots called ‘virtual fencing’. Because about 80% of Devil fatalities occur on 20% of our roads, there are good opportunities for such targeted measures. The virtual fencing system is comprised of bollards about 1 m high, spaced about 100 m apart. The roadside bollards detect car headlights, and emit a loud alarm and flashing light to scare the Devils away from the approaching vehicle. Figures suggest around 60% or more of likely fatalities may be prevented in this way.  Councils are also helping the Devils by removing roadkill from their local roads. Road kill of any species can attract scavengers like Devils, who may then themselves be killed by another car in the same spot, a vicious circle to be sure. 

Members of the community are asked to help too.  Anyone spotting a road kill is urged to report the event, either online, through a hard copy form, or via phone text message. If possible a photo should be included. More information is available from http://www.tassiedevil.com.au.  

Sharing information back and forth - from government to community and the reverse - is a key aspect of the project and will be key contributor to the project’s success. 

save the devil figure 3
Figure 2: - A healthy Devil being released after monitoring.

It appears both the councils and the community have taken the project to heart.  The relatively small community in the Dorset Council area have been liking, commenting and sharing news about the Devils on the Council’s Facebook page, which is reaching an estimated 4000 plus community members.  Community reporting improves intelligence available to government and councils to assist with a collective effort to save the Tasmanian Devil. 




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