LAOKO Snowy Mountains Rescue group advises drivers to slow down and avoid collisions with wildlife as winter approaches

Drivers are being urged to slow down to avoid collisions with wildlife as winter approaches.

This wombat weighing 600 grams was rescued a year ago near Dalgety after its mother hit and killed. He is being cared for by a trained LAOKO volunteer and is now 14kgs and will be released when he is two years old.

This wombat weighing 600 grams was rescued a year ago near Dalgety after its mother hit and killed. He is being cared for by a trained LAOKO volunteer and is now 14kgs and will be released when he is two years old.

LAOKO (Looking After Our Kosciuszko Orphans - Snowy Mountains Rescue) president Brendan Diacono, said winter is the busiest time for the group.

"The increase in winter visitors causes havoc on the roads as nocturnal wildlife and traffic are out at the same time.

"Most Australian wildlife is nocturnal and graze beside roads at dawn, dusk and during the night when cars are on the road.

"As soon as winter approaches we see an automatic increase in motor vehicle accidents with wildlife."

Mr Diacono said that while there is some grass in the paddocks animals are not forced to come to the side of the road to graze but they do still cross the road regularly."

"And that spells disaster for the animals and drivers," he said.

"It creates a huge amount of work for LAOKO members to rescue orphaned animals, or euthenase injured ones, too seriously injured to be rehabilitated. The police help out, and in the busy winter period, it stretches their resources too."

Mr Diacono offered some advice for drivers.

"Slow down, especially at dawn, dusk and at night time," Mr Diacono said.

"If you do hit an animal, you should stop to check it, but put your safety first.

"Park the car well off the road, put the hazard lights on, put on a reflective vest if you have one, and then carefully move the animal off the road if you feel safe to do so.

"If the animal is still alive, do not risk an injury to yourself, if you are not confident. Call LAOKO or the police for assistance."

The most common animal injuries LAOKO deals with are the result of collisions with motor vehicles, or animals or birds that get caught up in barbed wire fences.

An Eastern Grey joey rescued by LAOKO after her mother was killed a year ago. She will soon be ready to be released.

An Eastern Grey joey rescued by LAOKO after her mother was killed a year ago. She will soon be ready to be released.

LAOKO releases rehabilitated animals back into the bush, on properties away from main roads or adjoining bush reserves or national parks.

"But quite often animals have injuries that mean they would not survive in the wild, so these animals have to be put down. A sad task, but the most humane one," Mr Diacono said.

Coming into the busy winter season, Mr Diacono put out a call for community members who can spare a few hours a month help with the emergency phone.

"Training and support is provided and this is a very important role that people who may not have the time or facilities to care for wildlife can do," Mr Diacono said.

Call LAOKO on the emergency help line 6456 1313 for orphaned or injured wildlife.

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