Development Victoria has taken the first steps toward safeguarding wildlife at the recently-opened extension of Edgars Road in Epping.
Wildlife Victoria had flagged an urgent need to address the safety of kangaroos at the extension after recording a spike in wildlife injuries and deaths due to cars colliding with animals.
A dangerous situation arose for kangaroos when the road opened, and their habitat was split in two by traffic.
The kangaroos were forced to cross the extension to access their water source east of Edgars Road, posing a risk to both kangaroos and drivers.
Wildlife Victoria and the City of Whittlesea called for the State Government to take action to protect the kangaroos, and government body Development Victoria committed to addressing the problem with immediate and long-term solutions.
“The safety of the community and the well-being of local wildlife are key priorities for Development Victoria at this time and we are taking some immediate steps, as well as longer term action to help manage the situation,” Development Victoria said in a statement.
“All options are being considered to ensure the safety of the kangaroos and drivers in the area, as well as ensuring that local community are protected.”
Development Victoria installed signage with a phone number for drivers to call if they become aware of injured wildlife, as well as temporary fencing to ‘prevent the kangaroos venturing onto the road’.
The temporary fencing links with permanent fencing to form a border around the land between Edgars Road and Cotters Road, blocking kangaroos from the extension.
Kangaroos can access a small gap in the fencing at Cotters Road to exit the area and venture toward undeveloped land near Edgars Creek.
Electronic signage also warns drivers of increased kangaroo activity near the gap in the fence.
The developers plan to install additional fencing under the guidance of an ecologist once all the relevant approvals are secured ‘to ensure the kangaroos are safely and progressively encouraged off the site’.
However, concerns have been raised over the effectiveness of the strategy, with kangaroos still being directed to land closer to the Hume Freeway, also in the vicinity of future development.
Development Victoria plans to develop a Kangaroo Management Plan, KMP, for the area.
City of Whittlesea chief executive Craig Lloyd said council had recommended Development Victoria prepare a KMP prior to the road opening.
Wildlife Victoria chief executive Lisa Palma said the organisation were appreciative of the work done to protect the kangaroos at the site so far, and to have been involved in consultation with Development Victoria.
But she said more still needed to be done to safeguard the wildlife, with Wildlife Victoria remaining hopeful additional solutions would be implemented.
“Wildlife Victoria is appreciative of the actions taken by Development Victoria thus far to reduce the risk of kangaroos being struck by vehicles on the newly-opened section of Edgars Road,” she said.
“We do note that some additional short-term safety measures are still needed, and we are anxious to see the long-term plan for this iconic species at the site.
“At a strategic level, Wildlife Victoria renews calls for more proactive statewide protections in urban planning processes to ensure the safety and wellbeing of native wildlife.”
Statewide protections include greater legislation in the planning process to ensure a KMP is undertaken prior to developments proceeding.
Featured image: A kangaroo on the land between Edgars Road and Cotters Road, now more protected from traffic behind her, with new fencing installed.