People sometimes ask why I am so strongly opposed to the proposed Ella Bay urban development/resort complex and all I can say is look at the photos, read the story, and there is your answer.
Mission beach is the perfect example of what happens when development encroaches onto cassowary habitat. Tragic incidents like this should be driving the lesson home to our decision makers.
I am sad and angry at the same time to be honest. My sympathies go to all the people who had to witness this tragedy and my sincere thanks to the 2 Americans and the Canadian tourist who did what little they could to help this bird.
I have no more words, I will leave you with Liz Gallie’s introduction and the media release.
Development continues to be approved at Mission Beach without consideration for the increased traffic it brings. There are no plans for a traffic management strategy or reduction in speed limits in the high biodiversity area.
Mission Beach supports the highest density of cassowaries in Australia and yet there are believed to be only approximately 40 adults. Most cassowaries must cross roads daily to access their essential habitat. It is a gross negligence of the relevant authorities that we must bear witness to the continued and increasing threats to the adopted icon of our shire. The endangered cassowary is an important species to our environment community and economy.
Please find media release attached.
On behalf of the Management Team
C4 (Community for Coastal and Cassowary Conservation Inc)
C4 (07) 4068 7197
For immediate Release
16 Nov 09
Hit and run
Approximately 6-45am this morning a phone call was received informing us there had been a cassowary hit on the road near Fenby’s Gap. When we arrived, three people were standing around a dead adult bird. The tourists, two from America and one from Canada were visiting the Lacey’s Creek/Licuala Walk on the El Arish Mission Beach Road in the hope of seeing a cassowary in the wild.
They did, but not in the way they had planned.
While on the walking track they heard a loud thump and rushed back to the road only to see an adult cassowary had been hit by a vehicle and lay dying on the road. The driver did not stop. It occurred on a stretch of road with good visibility. A passing motorist reported the accident
The visitors moved the critically injured bird to the edge of the road but were unable to do anything but watch it die.
Traffic strike is the number one killer of cassowaries after habitat loss and this will bring the recorded deaths on roads at Mission Beach to 57 in 15 years. The toll is likely to be higher as not all strikes are reported.
At Mission Beach all roads intersect cassowary habitat. A cassowary can live up to fifty years of age and may make several road crossings each day. A recent JCU traffic study of the Mission Beach area has identified that if a cassowary needs to cross roads to access its essential food it will eventually die by vehicle strike.
It is hard to understand how anyone could hit and seriously injure an endangered species, especially one that is so important for our environment, community and economy, and not stop to see what they could do or at the very least report it?
It is important that these accidents are reported. It will allow us to better understand where and why they happen so strategies can be introduced to avoid deaths such as this in the future.
We know that speed is responsible for many of the cassowary road deaths and, as proven in the Daintree, reducing the speed limit reduces the risk. Increased traffic also increases the risk.
For injured wildlife please call Queensland Parks and Wildlife Ph 40641164, MOB. 0427 126 602
For more information contact;
C4 (07) 4068 7197