K- Forester Kangaroo – Macropus giganteus

Welcome to Day 11 of the A-Z Challenge.

For those of you overseas, no doubt you’ll find meeting today’s guest rather exciting because you may be meeting a kangaroo for the first time. Although I’m Australian born and bred, I still love seeing kangaroos, particularly in the wild as you usually don’t see them very often and contrary to some tourists’ hopes, you won’t find them hopping through the city streets.

During our 3 week trip to Tasmania in January, we were mostly staying with friends out in the bush near Devonport. This meant we were immersed in the local wildlife. There were numerous Bennett’s Wallabies, Kangaroos, birds and my son swears he heard a Tasmanian Devil howling in the night. That was all very special, although our daughter wasn’t so keen on the news of the Devil. You see, we often arrived home from our travels rather late at night and even though they eat dead bodies rather than the living, she didn’t want any up close and personal encounters.

Unfortunately, given that there is so much wildlife in Tasmania, especially of the small hopping variety, too many animals find their way on the roads and end up as what we Australians call “Road Kill”. On average, 32 animals are killed every hour on Tasmanian roads.

‘More animals die per kilometre on Tasmanian Roads than anywhere else in the world,’ says Don Knowler, author of Riding the Devil’s Highway.

‘The scale of road kill in Tasmania is just colossal,’ he says, adding that almost 300,000 animals are killed a year, with some groups putting the figure as high as half a million.

Another problem is secondary road kill. Animals like the very, endangered Tasmanian Devil, are run over while feeding on the road.

When we were driving back from Port Arthur at night, you could see the Bennett’s Wallabies in high numbers beside the road and it wasn’t uncommon to see them hopping across the road not far in front of the car and needing to take preventative measures. Unfortunately, we hit a wallaby and when we turned back we found its dead joey beside it. Naturally, I felt sick and and horrified shock that we’d done that to any kind of animal, especially a mother with her joey. There are wildlife groups, like WIRES, which take in injured animals and try to nurse hem back to the wild. Unfortunately, our wallaby and joey had died on impact.

I should also note that as important as it is to avoid hitting animals on the roads, it is also important to consider your own safety. While I was at university, a friend of mine died swerving to avoid a koala on the road and hit a tree.

These are some of the realities behind all those images you see of cute, fluffy Australian marsupials and thankfully there are people trying to increase awareness of the dangers of road kill and caring for injured animals to reduce the toll.

Yet, more must be done.

xx Rowena




9 thoughts on “K- Forester Kangaroo – Macropus giganteus

  1. thecoffeebeanbrain

    Hi Rowena. Could not help but feel sad for this animals on the road getting killed although not necessarily on purpose. It happens in my city, too, just not very often and high in numbers. Our victims are mostly stray cats and dogs which I think could be very well prevented through responsible ownership. I was talking to a friend from Queensland the other day and he also shared about driving with precaution because he said kangaroos are just chilling on the road, emus charging straight to the car and even cows crossing the street at night. I do hope something more can be done, thanks for sharing this post. 😉

  2. TanGental

    Gosh what a mood swing post. Happy hoppy at the start with Desth on a Fender at the end. Road kill is sickening wherever. I was in Scotland once when we hit a pinemarten a rare mammal here. I’d never seen one in the wild before, nor since and to think my only experience is one we killed moments after sighting it is gruesome. I shall drive more slowly at least for a while…

  3. Rowena Post author

    I had great difficulty approaching this post. People aren’t necessarily reading blog posts to have their awareness of bad things heightened and that’s why I thought I’d better lift the mood at the end. The roads even in the city suburbs are dotted with road kill in Tasmania. It’s everywhere. Our accident definitely woke me up. One is too many.
    I feel for you re the pinemarten. I know how you must have felt and you are so powerless after the fact.
    I promise Launceston is a happier post.
    xx Ro

  4. Rowena Post author

    It definitely helps when you have local knowledge when you’re driving. My husband was born and lived in Tassie until he was about 20 and so know the roads and how to take safe evasive action. Yet, as you know, even he clipped one.
    Emus are crazy critters. I live near the Australian Reptile Park and they used to have a few emus there, but they pestered and bullied people too much for their food and were moved onto “greener pastures”. I’ve also heard of emus decimating farmland. Very interesting critters though.
    Thanks for popping by.
    xx Rowena

  5. trentpmcd

    We see a lot of road kill here, but not quite that level (well, I’m sure much more over the entire US, but not as dense). I’m sorry about your friend. Reminds me, I remember a few years ago someone dying when they hit a moose about 5 miles from my house. Later that week I was at a car rental office outside of Yellowstone National Park. They were complaining because one of their cars was totaled when someone swerved to miss a moose and went down a step ledge and hit a tree. “Why didn’t they just hit the moose? We have enough of them!” Well, I think more people die hitting moose than moose die!

  6. New Journey

    Wow I had no idea that many animals were killed on the roads daily there….way over here on the west coast of the USA we, well I think of Australia a huge area with so many miles that the animals would never be killed on the road….if fact I thought that they were no were near roads at all….hummmm I learn something everyday…so sad for them….xxkat

  7. Rowena Post author

    I learned something new myself, tonight. I was conferring with my in-house rural living expert about why animals are attracted to the road. I mentioned the fresh shoots of grass and he mentioned that it “tastes better”. Turns out my husband has been chewing grass himself and felt qualified to offer an informed opinion. Anyway, you kangaroos etc were attracted to the fresh green shoots of grass by the road, because the council mows the verges. When we were down at the snow, they put salt on the roads and it attracts the kangaroos. The roads become a bit like a fast food outlet for a host of scavengers after that. Take care xx Ro

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