AS SHE drags the bloodied carcass of another dead kangaroo onto her truck's lifting platform, Nina Bruns breathes a sigh of relief. The annual killing season is almost over.
Collecting dead wildlife is the grisly, unhappy side of the ACT Parks and Conservation Service ranger's dream job. ''It's the sad part of being a ranger,'' she said.
Ms Bruns and her fellow rangers remove about 2200 kangaroo carcasses from Canberra roads each year. Some weigh up to 80 kilograms, requiring two people to shift them and posing a significant traffic hazard.
This year, rangers have also removed 10 possums and six wombats and probably some foxes, too.
In April, Ms Bruns picked up a dead spotted-tailed quoll, a particularly sad case because it is an animal listed as endangered.
The seasonal peak of dead animals on the road from July to October has just ended.
''Toward the end of winter, there's less feed in the reserves and they [the animals] also wander, looking for mates,'' Ms Bruns said.
She moved from Bombala to study conservation techniques for three years at the Australian National University in order to become a ranger and help manage the ACT nature reserves.
''I get to work outdoors and every day is different,'' said Ms Bruns, who patrols tens of thousands of hectares of reserves.
Armed with high-visibility vests, disposable gloves and flashing lights on their vehicles, rangers such as Ms Bruns park along some busy roads to get rid of the roadkill.
Most animal corpses are placed in nature reserves to decompose, said a spokesman from Territory and Municipal Services, which oversees the Parks and Conservation Service.
''Every effort is made to remove carcasses within 24 hours in high-priority urban areas and within a one-week time frame for rural areas,'' the spokesman said.