Do wildlife warning reflectors elicit aversion in captive macropods?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Wildlife Research, 2006, 33 (7), pp. 583 - 590
Issue Date:
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A goal to reduce the frequency of animal-vehicle collisions is motivating extensive research on this topic world-wide. Over the last 30 years, one popular mechanism to warn wildlife of approaching vehicles has been the wildlife warning reflector, manufactured and distributed under the brands Swareflex (Austria) and Strieter-Lite (USA). These reflectors were designed to scare deer and other ungulates from roadways at night by reflecting light from the headlights of approaching vehicles into the eyes of animals on the road verge. Robust documentation of their effectiveness has been lacking, yet there has been a push in Australia to examine their efficacy with regard to medium to large macropodids. Field trials of the reflectors are problematic and difficult to design rigorously, so we chose to examine the behavioural response of two captive macropodid species (Macropus rufus and M. rufogriseus) to the reflectors on a simulated road in order to derive some indication as to their efficacy. The behavioural response to the reflectors was negligible for both species and not consistent with an aversive effect to deter road use or crossing. We conclude that they would be of little value in our efforts to reduce the frequency of collisions of kangaroos or wallabies with vehicles in Australia. © CSIRO 2006.
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