12 April 2018

A new road safety initiative has been launched to help save Short-tailed Shearwater birds being struck and killed by cars on Phillip Island.

Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said cars are the biggest killers of this unique bird species on Phillip Island during the migratory season during April and May.

Phillip Island is home to more than one million Short-tailed Shearwaters that arrive from Alaska in September and spend the summer raising their chicks in sand dune burrows.

Last year, although 534 Short-tailed Shearwaters were rescued, 532 were struck by cars and died.

To raise awareness of the hazardous road conditions created when the fledglings attempt to fly, VicRoads and Phillip Island Nature Parks have implemented several new initiatives to help lessen the impact.

From Wednesday 25 April, the street lights on Phillip Island Bridge will be switched off so the fledglings do not fly towards the light and the speed limit will be reduced to 40km/hr.

These measures will remain in place for approximately 10 days.

A dedicated team of Phillip Island Nature Park employees and volunteers will work throughout this period to raise awareness within the community and rescue birds throughout the fledging season.

Drivers are encouraged to look out for these birds on the road, observe changed traffic conditions, and keep an eye out for rescuers on the roads at night.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing

“It is great to see these united efforts going in to saving as many as these fabulous migratory birds as possible.”

“As well as trying to ensure that these chicks complete their journey safely, it is important to be aware that they can be a hazard for motorists and we should take particular care at Phillip Island this time of year.”

“Phillip Island is a place where we can enjoy wildlife as it passes through, be they whales, penguins or birdlife. We must protect our special visitors.”