Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Benalla named a hot spot for collisions with animals

RACV Insurance data reveals that Benalla has a high rate of collisions with animals.

MONIQUE FREER August 8, 2014 3:37am

A baby brushtail possum taken to North East Wildlife Rescue in Benalla.

Benalla is one of north-east Victoria’s hot spots for collisions with animals, RACV Insurance data has revealed.

The figures show that in 2013 there were 28 collisions with wildlife in Benalla, five in Swanpool, four in Baddaginnie and three in Tatong.

RACV Insurance general manager Paul Northey said collisions with animals happened at all hours, but mostly at dawn or dusk.

‘‘Kangaroos are the most common animal to be struck by vehicles that resulted in an insurance claim, and motorists should take care at all hours and in all seasons when travelling on regional roads,’’ he said.

‘‘While March, April, May and June recorded the highest number of collisions across the state with at least 250 claims associated with kangaroos, dogs or wombats each month, the figure was almost double for May with 459 incidents.’’

Shirley Steegstra runs North East Wildlife Rescue from her home in Benalla and said she saw many kangaroos, wallabies and wombats as the result of road accidents.

‘‘It goes in phases, you won’t get anything for ages and then you might get a few,’’ she said.

Ms Steegstra said she was often called out to wildlife on Hume Fwy and Midland Hwy as well as country roads around Violet Town and Glenrowan.

‘‘It is always better if they check it out to see if they’ve killed it or not and check a pouch — if they’re comfortable with that — otherwise they just give us a ring and we can go out and check if the animal hasn’t been killed outright,’’ she said.

‘‘It is better to deal with it immediately than leave it out there, that’s the most important thing.’’

There is usually little warning when an animal moves onto the road, however Ms Steegstra recommended taking note of road signs that signalled wildlife.

‘‘It is very hard for people to avoid them,’’ she said.

‘‘It’d be just a case of slowing down through the area where the signs say wildlife are nearby.’’

Mr Northey said motorists should slow down when travelling around bends and over crests as these could obscure animals that had wandered near the road.

‘‘You should also be cautious if there are warning signs advising of wildlife in the area, or if you see dead animals on the side of the road.’’

Mr Northey said motorists should make sure they had adequate comprehensive insurance coverage to ensure they recovered all costs following a collision.

‘‘Colliding with an animal, whether it is on a country highway or an urban road, not only puts you and your family at risk of serious injury, it can also prove very costly,’’ he said.

For assistance with injured wildlife phone North East Wildlife Rescue on 0437118281 or Wildlife Victoria on 1300094535.

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