Friday, December 7, 2012

Roos on the hop

VicRoads and a local wildlife organisation have successfully relocated most of the 20 kangaroos stuck on a road reserve along the Calder Freeway near Harcourt.
The freeway was closed last Saturday night for about three hours while wildlife volunteers completed three sweeps to get most of the mob of kangaroos out of a road reserve and into open spaces.
The freeway was closed in case the kangaroos got startled and hopped onto the road in front of oncoming traffic.
VicRoads regional director, Mal Kersting says kangaroos are very territorial, making the operation to herd them a challenge.
"However, early estimates by the wildlife organisation indicate that the majority of kangaroos went through the gate," he said.
"There are still some stragglers, with the wildlife organisation planning to undertake a head count over the next few days.
"This was a unique and important trial effort, and VicRoads will continue to work with the wildlife organisation on other potential alternatives to encourage the animals out of the road reserve."
Mt Alexander Wildlife Network co-ordinator, Nikki Sutterby confirmed that most of the kangaroos hopped through the gate into the open space where there is plenty of water for them.
"We believe we got most of them through ... we will try to coax the stragglers through by leaving apples and water near the gate," Ms Sutterby said.
Ms Sutterby said she believes the kangaroos got into the reserve after the gate was accidentally left open.
She thanked VicRoads for working with the network and helping to transfer most of the mob.
"The VicRoads contractors were really great and hopefully we can work together to get the stragglers through."
Ms Sutterby said she believed there would be no need to close the highway again to complete the task.
Meanwhile, Mr Kersting reminded motorists to drive with caution through central Victoria this summer.
"VicRoads already has extensive animal fencing in place and a number of animal crossings along the freeway between Gisborne and Bendigo to minimise animals and traffic coming in contact.
"We remind motorists to take care when driving at dawn and dusk, which is a time when kangaroos are more likely to move."

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