“VIRTUAL fencing” designed to stop wild animals crossing in front of vehicles is about to be trialled along a two-kilometre section of a “hot spot” road in Boneo.
Mornington Peninsula Shire has been working with the community, specifically the Mornington Peninsula Wildlife Action Group and Greens Bush Association and has already bought virtual fencing for the trial.
The technology uses audio and visual alarms to deter wildlife from crossing the road when vehicles are passing. It is triggered by approaching headlights and creates a virtual barrier of sound and light.
Victoria Carter, of the wildlife action group, applauded the shire’s recognition of the depth of the issue of wildlife being killed on the roads.
“This is great because the incident rates on the peninsula are way too high, especially in holiday times when traffic increases,” she said.
Ms Carter said if the trial was successful, she would like to see virtual fencing rolled out in a number of hot spots on the peninsula.
“There are some roadways, such as Baldrey’s, Purves, Browns/Jetty and Boneo, that have very high incident rates and I’d love to see more action to bring down the number of vehicle/wildlife accidents there,” she said.
The virtual fencing – which is relatively new technology to Australia – has been used in Tasmania, where a study between 2014-2017 showed a 50 per cent drop in roadkill following the installation of the virtual fencing.
Peninsula wildlife carer and the founder of Crystal Ocean Wildlife Shelter, Brenda Marmion, hailed the trial as “fantastic”.
“There are way too many wildlife getting killed on our roads, and it’s getting worse,” she said.
“Over Christmas I’ve had people with injured wildlife queuing at my door, there are a lot of people of the roads at the moment and they just drive too fast.
“If virtual fencing can reduce the road toll for wildlife and people it will be well worth it.”
The trial fencing location will be made public once residents in the surrounding area are notified and will be installed early in 2022. Its effectiveness will be monitored to determine if it should be installed permanently in high wildlife accident areas.