SAVING SKIPPY: The
SAVING SKIPPY: The "virtual fence" and electronic signs are designed to change both kangaroo and driver behaviour. USC lecturer in wildlife ecology Dr Scott Burnett. Patrick Woods

Acoustic fences helping save dwindling kangaroo population

THE Coast is one of the first places in Australia to trial new technology to reduce the number of kangaroos hit on the road.

An acoustic wildlife fence has been installed along Sippy Downs Drive in a bid to reverse the "steep decline" in the kangaroo population in the region.

The "virtual fence" and associated signs have been installed by Sunshine Coast Council in partnership with the University of the Sunshine Coast.

University of the Sunshine Coast lecturer in wildlife ecology Dr Scott Burnett said over the past eight years the kangaroo numbers had decreased significantly in the area.

"In 2010 there was in the order of 90 kangaroos living in the campus and today there is around about 10 adults here," he said.

"We can only assume that the same thing is going on in the broader Sippy Downs area as well."

Dr Burnett said the fences responded to car lights and then created an "acoustic barrier", which caused kangaroos to pause.

"It doesn't actually stop them from moving through but hopefully by making them pause on the edge of the road it gives them a chance to survive that road crossing," he said.

"They are so brand new that we don't really know yet if they are working. But we certainly have to give it a go as there really is no other solution."

A new approach to managing wildlife road crossing incidents on the Sunshine Coast is being trialled at Sippy Downs. The
A new approach to managing wildlife road crossing incidents on the Sunshine Coast is being trialled at Sippy Downs. The "virtual fence" and electronic signs are designed to change both kangaroo and driver behaviour. Cr Christian Dickson, USC lecturer in wildlife ecology Dr Scott Burnett and Cr Jenny McKay. Patrick Woods

Does more need to be done to protect Coast wildlife?

This poll ended on 30 August 2018.

Current Results

Definitely.

80%

As long as we don't have to pay for it.

0%

That's what happens in high-development areas.

20%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Divisional councillor Christian Dickson said he thought the council needed to spend whatever it could to help protect wildlife.

"There is a huge level of support for retaining wildlife in this region and they have been apart of the university since it opened in the 90s and locals love the kangaroos," he said.

"The next step for us is to step up the promotional education for motorists.

"We are going to have some warning signs going up as well so that when people break the speed limit they are going to trigger an activated sign that tells you to slow down and there's actually going to be a kangaroo that comes up on it."

Cr Dickson said it was early days but so far there had been no reports of kangaroos being hit on the roads where the fence was being trialled.



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