Horrific pictures of multiple Tasmanian devils killed on a road in the state’s far northwest have prompted urgent calls for action to save the iconic creature.
Locals say more than 30 devils have been killed on Woolnorth Road since the start of the year, including 10 in the past five days.
Woolnorth is considered one of the last strongholds of healthy Tasmanian devil populations in the state.
The Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease (DFDT) has reduced populations of the carnivorous marsupial by up to 90 per cent in some areas.
Tasmanian Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson said the reports of decimated devils along Woolnorth Road were “alarming”.
“If left unchecked this fatality rate would be disastrous for the Tasmanian devil population that is free from DFTD,” he said.
“Roadkill mitigation measures, including lower speed limits, signage and fencing must be implemented.”
The gruesome photos show the dead devils in graphic detail, including some with their intestines and blood splattered on the road.
Mr Whish-Wilson also called on the federal government to commit to funding devil research in the area and more funding for the Save The Tasmanian Devil Program.
“Clearly funding should be reinstated so we can understand how best to protect this species, not just from DFTD, but also from suffering such horrific deaths on our roads,” he said.
“The DFTD highlighted the Tasmanian devil’s importance to Tasmania’s ecological and cultural landscape.”
The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program, an initiative of the Australian and Tasmanian governments, was established in 2003 as a response to the threat of extinction of the Tasmanian devil due to DFTD.
Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment (DPIPWE) – which manages the program – said it was “aware” of reports of devil roadkill at Woolnorth this year.
”All devil roadkill is of concern,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.
“Program staff have contacted the local council – the primary road owner to ensure they are aware of the issue and to provide advice if required.”
DPIPWE said data and research on roadkill revealed a recurring annual spike in devils killed on roads during the summer months in Tasmania.
“This pattern is thought to occur because juvenile devils disperse from their mother’s dens at this time of year, sometimes using roads to travel,” the spokeswoman said.
The federal environment department and minister has been contacted for comment.