Drivers are warned to watch out for wildlife crossing roads. Picture: Brad Fleet
Drivers are warned to watch out for wildlife crossing roads. Picture: Brad Fleet

Rain, desperation is putting animals’ lives on the line

AS THE world tunes in to the plight of our animals injured or endangered by the fires, it’s more important than ever that we don’t forget about the creatures in our own backyards and on our roads.

I live out near Coominya — which, for those of you who don’t know, is basically the middle of nowhere — with 40 acres of bushland surrounding my home, and a half-hour drive past plenty more bushland and rural properties between me and the office.

I’ve been fortunate that my home hasn’t been directly impacted by the recent fires, but I still see plenty of animals suffering due to the heat and drought.

This past week, I’ve seen far more animals than usual nibbling on grass by the roadside in the mornings … and far more roadkill as well.

I’ve seen lizards, wallabies, kangaroos, possums, even koalas and echnidnas, and more than a few have been sprawled next to cleared areas where there’s really no excuse not to have seen them.

The recent rain, limited though it was, has left puddles and caused fresh growth beside the roads, which is where animals, particularly wallabies, will congregate to eat and drink.

Other animals, such as koalas, echidnas, birds, and lizards, are also regularly crossing roads in search of food and water.

For many animals, mating season has recently ended, which means parents have more mouths to feed.

All of these circumstances have brought more of our beloved native wildlife close to our homes and roads, where far too many of them are being run down.

I know there are situations were animals jump out unexpectedly, or can’t be avoided, but there are also plenty of moments where uncaring drivers have chosen to mow over what’s in front of them and leave it smeared on the bitumen.

Millions of dollars are being donated to appeals to support wildlife organisations and animal carers in the wake of the fires down south, but it’s equally important for us to focus on looking after the rest of our animals as well.

We can’t afford to lose any more of our iconic native wildlife.

It really, truly isn’t that difficult to watch the roadsides and slow down when you see something — it should be second nature for those of us who’ve grown up surrounded by animals and bushland.

On my morning drives into work, there are often moments where I’m forced to ease off the accelerator, and it always warms my heart to see drivers coming the other way do the same.

We slow down, wait for whatever native critter is nearby to decide where it wants to go, and then we’ll keep on driving, and sometimes exchange a wave as we pass each other by.

If only everyone could be so considerate.

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