WARNING — GRAPHIC IMAGES: It's a plea wildlife advocates have been urging for years yet many motorists still haven't got the memo.
"Please stop and check!"
The simple instruction was shared by Noosa resident Lindy Yewen online after she discovered a "freezing cold" possum joey "crawling along the bitumen" beside its deceased mother on Monday after the animals were involved in a vehicle collision.
"It was so unexpected to actually see this little one alive and crawling ... It broke my heart wondering how many cars had driven past and how long he had been there," Lindy told Yahoo News Australia.
Lindy rushed the joey to a local wildlife centre for emergency medical assistance, however, its injuries were "too severe" and the animal was euthanised.
"I am always stopping to check pouches and move animals off the road. I have found so many deceased possums, roos and deceased joeys.
"Please if it’s safe to do so, stop and check," she urged fellow motorists online.
10 million animals hit on Australian roads every year
This is the latest wildlife fatality and joey rescue reported by Yahoo in a long list of roadside incidents where many motorists failed to stop and check on the animals.
Last week a wildlife carer "literally gasped" after spotting a wallaby joey cling to its dead parent after it was stuck by a vehicle in South Australia, with another similar incident involving a kangaroo joey reported in May. Joeys in these instances often succumb to freezing temperatures, shock or predators.
How can motorists help injured animals?
Wildlife advocates recommend safely stopping and moving the animal off the road before contacting a local wildlife group to help an animal.
The motorist will increase the animal's likelihood of survival considerably as these incidents are time sensitive.
"The sooner we get to them the better it is ... If you do hit something, check if it is still alive, or if it has a joey in the pouch," wildlife rescuer Kerstin Schweth told Yahoo last month.
"If motorists report the crash maybe the mother can be saved, or at least she could be taken out of her misery and the baby can be saved."
Spray painting a deceased animal once its pouch has been checked is becoming a common practice among wildlife rescuers, signally there is no joey present as well as confirming the animal is no longer alive by the side of the road.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.