In the emergency rooms at the Canberra hospital, around once a week a badly mangled person is wheeled in and prepped for surgery. And it's our wildlife that is directly to blame.
Directly hitting a kangaroo or swerving to avoid one and having a major collision or rollover is a growing cause of road crashes in our region and one of Canberra's leading trauma surgeons aims to do something about it.
In July, the chair of the ACT Trauma Committee Dr Ailene Fitzgerald met with police, cyclists, health and road safety experts and parks rangers to collaborate on a harm minimisation strategy directly aimed at reducing the injury toll associated with wildlife strikes.
"In the past few years we've seen this problem of road accidents involving wildlife steadily increasing and it's causing a significant amount of major injuries," Dr Fitzgerald said.
"It's pretty horrendous to see the extent of these injuries. We're talking about severe trauma, including head, chest, abdominal and limb injuries. One of our patients who suffered a head injury after a wildlife incident will need care for the rest of his life."
In another incident, a motorcyclist on a holiday ride through Khancoban, in the Snowy Mountains, hit a wallaby which darted out from the roadside. He crashed heavily, was airlifted to Canberra hospital,and is likely to need more surgery, plus months of hospital care and rehabilitation.
Police and insurance companies confirm the cost and extent of the wildlife danger on our roads.
National vehicle insurer AAMI recently confirmed Canberra as Australia's worst hotspot for animal collisions for the third consecutive year after studying the data related to 9000 incidents between March 2018 and February 2019.
The AAMI data showed ACT motorists were most likely to hit a kangaroo (96 per cent), followed by wombat (1 per cent) or wallaby (1 per cent).
Eric Chalmers, the ACT chairman of the Australasian College of Road Safety, believes wildlife collisions must be examined as a "complete system", with data, causes and solutions.
He's strongly supportive of sharing data between all the stakeholders and to present ideas to government.
While vehicle drivers were the most common visitors to the emergency ward after vehicle strikes, there are also concerns about more vulnerable road users, such as cyclists.
Even more so than the car crash data, cyclists hitting wildlife, or swerving and falling off their bikes, is clouded by significant under-reporting.
"In discussing this with the people from Pedal Power, their members report many near misses and injuries where they don't present for treatment but go home and self-manage their injuries," Dr Fitzgerald said.
"So we know there is a lot more injury data out there that is not recorded."
Dr Fitzgerald hoped that the collaborative work being done now will begin to manifest next winter.
"Perhaps in the short term an awareness program can bring the problem to people's attention while we look at longer-term solutions," she said.
"Given that Canberra has such a wildlife problem, the solutions we develop here could be used elsewhere in Australia."