POLICE have issued a plea for drivers to slow down on country roads after a spike in wildlife deaths over the school holidays.
Leading Senior Constable Kelly Harris, of Halls Gap, said she had to euthanize eight kangaroos over the weekend after drivers struck them and failed to stop or alert anybody.
Police were only notified after locals stopped and alerted them.
"Eight kangaroos were hit by vehicles and just left to die, except for one that was caught in a fence," she said.
Senior Constable Harris said wildlife deaths on the road usually increased over long weekends and school holidays but eight over one weekend was extremely high.
"It's unheard of for me to have to euthanize so many animals over such a short period of time," she said.
"Tourists just don't take into account the abundance of wildlife in our area."
Incidents were most common on the Ararat-Halls Gap Road and Grampians Road.
"They are all on the outskirts of town but a lot of tourists don't realise that kangaroos are the most active between dusk and dawn, and they are 100 kilometre zone roads - after dark that's what the tourists drive at," Senior Constable Harris said.
"It's disappointing that people leave them injured on the side of the road without at least contacting a wildlife rescue or someone like that.
"But in saying that, locals are contacting police or wildlife rescue. They are the ones making the phone calls and doing the right thing."
Senior Constable Harris urged drivers who hit wildlife to stop and call Wildlife Victoria.
Wildlife Victoria is a wildlife emergency response organisation that sends volunteers out to assist when passers-by report injuries or other emergencies.
Chief executive Megan Davidson said there was always something passers-by could do to help wildlife injured on the road.
"The main thing is to stop and pull over when it's safe to do so," she said.
"It's probably a good idea to do that anyway because the driver is probably going to be a little affected (by the incident).
"If the animal is dead and it is safe to do so, drag the animal off the road but be really careful not to be hit yourself."
This could help prevent the animal becoming a traffic hazard and also prevent prey animals coming to eat the body and also getting hit.
However, if the animal was already causing a traffic hazard it was best to contact the police on Triple Zero.
"Often police can get there much faster (than us)," Ms Davidson said.
If the animal was on the side of the road, there were other steps passers-by could follow, starting by contacting Wildlife Victoria.
If the animal is dead, passers-by could still help by checking for joeys or other baby animals that might have been thrown from the mother's pouch during the impact.
"It's really important to report that the animal has been hit because we can potentially save the joey," Ms Davidson said.
"Check for a baby in the pouch if it's a female.
"Not everyone is going to be comfortable doing this so the main thing is to call it in and the operator on the phone can advise how to do a pouch check. Sometimes if you look in the pouch there's an elongated teat, and that tells us there's a joey somewhere.
"If you've hit a kangaroo it's probably not a good idea to approach it if it's still alive - they are a big frightened animal, so the best thing to do is call Wildlife Victoria."
Ms Davidson said commuters may also have seen animals by the side of the road with big spray-painted crosses on them.
"That's an indicator that the animal has been checked for a joey," she said.
"So if people can have a can of spray paint in the car and it's a male or there's no joey, a big bright orange or pink cross means that everyone else sees that and no one needs to stop.
"If you drive in the country it's a good idea to make up a little kit and if you look at our website it's got advice on how to do it.
"Pillow cases are good things to pop a joey into. Be prepared, have disposable gloves and a high vis vest."
Wildlife Victoria also joined an app on Monday called Snap Send Solve, which allows users to take photos of problems they spot, such as wildlife accidents or burst water pipes on the street, and send it to the relevant authority.
A particular advantage of the app is it can geotag the user's location, making it easier to send a rescuer to the site.
This was even more valuable if the sender could not stay and wait for the rescuer to arrive.
Senior Constable Harris said in an urgent situation people could also ring Triple Zero, but for wildlife emergencies Wildlife Victoria should be the first point of contact.
"We should be the last point of contact and police may be able to assist," she said.
Wildlife Victoria can be contacted for emergencies on 03 8400 7300.
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