Virtual fencing a welcome move to help reduce Devil road fatalities

Virtual fencing a welcome move to help reduce Devil road fatalities

The state’s iconic Tasmanian Devil is a little safer thanks to the installation of virtual fencing at Sisters Beach.

Waratah-Wynyard Council secured funding from the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program (brought forward to encourage economic stimulus via new projects with an immediate start) to fund the installation of the virtual fencing to stop Tasmanian Devils and other wildlife from crossing the road in the Rocky Cape National Park environmentally sensitive area.

The project saw the installation of the virtual fencing over three kms from Banksia Park to the Sisters Beach town boundary, with 100 beepers spaced 50 metres apart staggered along both sides of the road.

Car headlights activate the beepers which deter animals from entering the road into the path of oncoming traffic.

Waratah-Wynyard Mayor Robby Walsh encouraged the community to consider Tasmania’s unique and protected species when they are driving.

“Success of the fence is dependent on driver behaviour and reduced speed,” Mayor Walsh said.

“The fence’s beepers are activated by headlights, so I encourage drivers to turn their lights on as soon as it starts to get dark and to remember the importance of slowing down from dusk till dawn.”

The project was also identified as a priority of the Integrated Council Environmental Plan (iCEP) and the Sisters Beach Community Association.

Fiona Loughran, of the Sisters Beach Community Association, was delighted with the project outcomes.

“Council involved the community in every step of this project,” Fiona Loughran said.

David Pemberton, who was involved with Save the Devil project, assisted with the implementation of the fencing.

“David Pemberton has a wealth of knowledge on Devils,” Ms Loughran said.

“To have him come to Sisters Beach to assist us in determining the location of the devices was invaluable. Our community would like to say a huge thanks to David.”

“A busy road in a National Park with a high conservation zone between two urban areas is unusual,” Mayor Walsh said said.

 “Virtual fencing has proved to be a successful method of preventing animals from entering the road, so we are happy this project has been brought forward, particularly as we come into the busy summer period.”

Authorised for general media distribution by Shane Crawford, General Manager, Waratah-Wynyard Council on Thursday, December 17 2020.

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