Tasmanian devils being slaughtered on Tasmania’s killer road

NEWS AND COMMENT-TASMANIA, AUSTRALIA: There is a 15-mile stretch of road in Tasmania on which 160 endangered Tasmanian devils have been killed within the past 18 months (unnamed road). Animal advocates are in despair as our conservationists. And the Tasmanian devil needs all the conservation that it can muster because at least 80% of the species has been wiped out by a nasty, cancerous facial tumour.

Tasmanian devil
Tasmanian devil. Photo: Pixabay.

However, where this marsupial is being killed on the road, the devils are free of this facial tumour. And it appears that the residents who use this particular stretch of road are unconcerned. Alice Carson of Woolnorth, North West Tasmania, said: “It’s very much a cultural thing – lots of people think the devils are vermin.”

Perhaps, on occasion at least, drivers of vehicles run over these animals deliberately by failing to take evasive action. That wouldn’t surprise me and it seems entirely plausible bearing in mind the large number killed on a 15-mile stretch.

Alice Carson documents the deaths of Tasmanian devils in the area. she said:

“This population is unique yet we are just smashing them. We had 28 dead in two weeks. It’s nothing to see three a day. There are probably more getting hit but dying later in the bush. We have trucks doing 150-160 km/h (100 mph). Reducing the speed limit and policing it with a speed camera would be a start.”

This particular stretch of road which is unnamed in the report that I’m reading in The Times leads to dairy farms and a windfarm. They say that road traffic threatens the last of Tasmania’s healthy devils.

Almost 300,000 animals are killed annually on the roads in Tasmania and the dairy farms and windfarms are making things worse as they spread into their habitat.

Tasmanian devil sightings have dropped by 80% over the past 20 years clearly indicating that the species is in rapid decline.

Dr. Colette Harmsen, a veterinary surgeon, said that the verdant roadsides of Tasmania are particularly attractive to plant-eating animals which makes them vulnerable to speeding vehicles.

To make matters worse, there are plans for a 122-turbine windfarm along this road. Harmsen said that this would make things worse: “It’s going to add more to an already horribly depressing outcome for the Tasmanian devils.”

On average 32 animals die every hour on Tasmania’s roads. Tasmania is about three times the size of Wales with about half a million people. This island state of Australia has a bad reputation with respect to roadkill. They kill more creatures per mile than anywhere else.

Comment: it’s ironic once again because the administrators of the state of Tasmania, like other states in Australia, are particularly antagonistic towards the feral cat believing that it has a hugely negative impact on conservation of their native species. And yet here, once again, we have human activity killing of native species. This is but one example. There are numerous others and without harping on too much, it is about time that humans bit the bullet and took responsibility for their own actions. It is doubly ironic because humans introduced the feral cat to Australia in the first place.

P.S. the Tasmanian devil has the world’s hardest bite per body mass of all the planet’s creatures.

Below are some more articles on Australia.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
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Post Category: Marsupials