Slow down for wildlife in our national parks

Slow down for wildlife in our national parks

Watch­ing your speed in nation­al parks could save an animal’s life. Here’s why slow­ing down makes such a difference.

Dhil­ba Guu­ran­da-Innes Nation­al Park Ranger in Charge Mark Davi­son tells us that wild ani­mal deaths by vehi­cle are a com­mon occur­rence in parks.

Most of South Australia’s nation­al parks have speed lim­its of 40 kilo­me­tres per hour for good rea­son. They allow you plen­ty of time to react to any unex­pect­ed event, includ­ing the sud­den appear­ance of a fur­ry or feath­ered creature.

Cars are scary things to wild ani­mals, so when you enter a nation­al park it might be handy to remem­ber that your car is a for­eign object to the ani­mals that live there. Keep in mind that the wild ani­mals in parks don’t have road sense like your fam­i­ly pet might and they are freely roam­ing their nat­ur­al habitat.

Dawn and dusk are prime times to encounter ani­mals such as kan­ga­roos and mallee fowl and you can see emus at any time of the day.

Emus will gath­er on the side of the road to eat native veg­e­ta­tion and can be very dif­fi­cult to see among the bush­es. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, they are known for run­ning into the path of oncom­ing vehi­cles. Keep your eyes peeled as they do have a ten­den­cy to run down the mid­dle of the road in front of vehi­cles for some dis­tance until they decide to devi­ate into the bushes. 

Pay spe­cial atten­tion after rain, as wild ani­mals will con­gre­gate on the sealed roads to take the oppor­tu­ni­ty to drink fresh water from pud­dles. Snakes and lizards are also very common.

If you spot a wild ani­mal approach­ing or near a road:

  • Slow down
  • Let the wild ani­mal move on
  • If the ani­mal does not move, dri­ve around them at walk­ing speed
  • Once you have passed them safe­ly, con­tin­ue at the spec­i­fied speed limit
  • Enjoy the expe­ri­ence – safe­ly pull your car to the side of the road and take some pictures

What to do if you spot injured wildlife:

One last tip: speed lim­its are enforced in parks by SA Police and Park Rangers with fines of up to $210 issued for exceed­ing speed lim­its or dri­ving with­out due care. So stick to the road rules!

Main image cour­tesy of Mark Davi­son, Dhil­ba Guu­ran­da-Innes Nation­al Park Ranger In Charge. Check out some oth­er great shots from him in Nature pho­tog­ra­phy on your mobile phone.

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly post­ed in March 2016.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living