What are these road signs and how can they help protect our wildlife on the road?

Koala and wildlife road crossing signs are placed in areas where animals are known to frequently cross or be on the road. Not to be mistaken for tourist signs, these are vital indicators that you need to slow down and keep an eye on the roadsides for koalas and other wildlife. It is a requirement that wildlife must frequently encroach on the roadside in the area to warrant the installation of one or more of these signs (Transport and Main Roads 2020).

Wildlife warning signs are one of the most common vehicle-strike mitigation measures used by the Government and Council (Huijser et al. 2015). Standard wildlife road signs typically display a black symbolic animal on a retroreflective yellow background.

Enhanced or dynamic signs, such as vehicle-activated signs and variable message signs, are also used to warn drivers they are entering a koala zone.

A dynamic koala road sign
Credit: Rob Appleby – Wild Spy

Studies have shown that dynamic wildlife warning signs achieve substantial reductions in vehicle speeds.

Sullivan et al. 2013

Another measure used to highlight koala vehicle strike hotspots for drivers is road surface markings; this strategy is used in combination with wildlife warning signs to encourage drivers to reduce speed and increase vigilance.

Credit: Port Macquarie News

Currently, koala and wildlife road signs are one of the most agile and cost-effective vehicle-strike mitigation measures the Government and Council can implement, especially in urban areas (Blacker, A., Aburrow, K., Scott, J., and Jones, D. (2019).

Koala hospital records indicate after habitat clearing, the most serious threat to koalas is death from car hits.

Unfortunately, 85 per cent of koalas that have been hit by a car die. Make a real impact on koala conservation by driving slowly wherever you see a koala crossing sign.

In the unfortunate event, you do strike a koala or find one injured or deceased, immediately call your nearest wildlife rescue.

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