Kangaroo Island speed limits could be reduced to combat the overwhelming number of wildlife trauma and deaths on local roads.
Calls have been made for the introduction of dusk-to-dawn speed limits on key sections of Kangaroo Island’s 110km/h speed signed roads.
Photographer Doug Gimesy urged local representatives to reduce speed limits at night and initiated a petition.
He said that while thousands of kangaroos were killed, fatally injured or maimed by vehicle impacts every year, death was not always immediate and many die slowly and painfully.
For Doug, it was the trauma these animals go through that pushed him to speak up.
“Like many tourists, when I first visited the Island, I was amazed by the natural beauty, but was also shocked by the amount of dead wildlife lining the roadsides,” he said.
“What really upset us however was the discovery that a lot of the ‘road kill’ didn’t die instantly. Many animals go on to suffer slow, painful deaths.”
He felt the proposed speed restrictions were a “small, occasional, inconvenience to a few with significant benefits to humans and wildlife”.
“For those who say no, it’s a values battle between selfishness and compassion, empathy and caring,” he said.
Kangaroo Island conservationist for more than 20 years, Sandy, said the kangaroos were “just like people”.
“When you understand them, you know they’re individuals who have feelings and they hurt,” she said.
Member for Finniss Michael Pengilly said calls for speed restrictions to protect wildlife were “completely out of touch with reality”.
“Kangaroo Island residents do not need advice on how to deal with animals on the road at night,” he said.
“Islanders take extreme care to not damage their vehicles or their occupants.”
Mr Pengilly felt tourists were invariably advised to take “extreme precautions” when driving at night.
“Ideas like night curfews have good intentions but are not realistic or enforceable and I am strongly opposed to such an idea,” he said.
“Kangaroo Island is a rural community with predominantly farming families and business operators who value their environment and lifestyle and they do not need to be told how to drive and at what speed to drive.”
Mayor Peter Clements said that while Council would not enforce restrictions, they would look at advisory speed limits and increased education for visitors.
“Advisory speeds have no point in law but they advise people what the safe speeds are at that time and this could help reduce the carnage on our roads,” he said.
- For more information, or to sign the petition: www.kiwildlifetrauma.com