10 May 2010 1 x adult female cassowary killed on Mission Beach Roads
20 Dec 2009 1 x adult female cassowary killed on Mission Beach Roads
16 Nov 2009 1 x adult female cassowary killed on Mission Beach Roads
Is anyone starting to see a pattern here?
It gets worse… all these deaths occurred along a 1 kilometre stretch of road.
Liz Gallie was kind enough to send a press release on to me to share on the blog.
Although I really don’t like these stories one little bit they still need to be told and not just swept under the carpet.
Well without any further ado here’s the press release:
13 May 2010
Tragic Loss pushes cassowary at Mission Beach closer to extinction
Another adult cassowary was killed by car strike late on Monday afternoon near Mission Beach village. The death was reported to the local Police the next morning. The body was retrieved from the side of the road at around 5pm that day and taken to the Garners Beach Rehabilitation Centre for disposal.
It was confirmed by the Tully vet who attended the scene the dead bird was a large mature female and it had sustained massive injuries.
The bird was crossing the road towards dusk when it was struck by one vehicle and ricocheted into the path of another. The driver of the second car stopped but it was too dark to see the bird.
The accident caused substantial damage to the vehicle.
“The road death rate of cassowaries at Mission Beach is unsustainable” said spokesperson for C4, Liz Gallie. “It takes four years for a cassowary to reach maturity and then it can live up to 50 years of age. The death of three adult female cassowaries in the same area within six months is a tragic blow for the important population of the endangered cassowary at Mission Beach”.
All three deaths occurred within a kilometer of each other and on a section of road that is known as a frequent crossing area.
As a result of two of the deaths last year the Main Roads Department held a workshop at Mission Beach and a plan was developed to trial a cassowary crossing on a small section of road. There are many other places in the high cassowary density area of Mission Beach that need traffic management
C4 met with several State Ministers at the Community Cabinet held at Innisfail last February highlighting the urgency for an integrated cassowary traffic and response strategy.
When a cassowary is killed on the road we need to obtain specific information e g;
* Was it on a straight stretch of road or a bend?
* What was the speed limit?
* What was the condition of the adjacent road verge e g long grass, native vegetation, road cutting?
* Was the driver a local or tourist? Etc etc.
It appears that visibility played a major role in the latest casualty. We know that;
Information is being collected by various people about cassowary movement as well as road crossings. All this information should be shared on compatible data bases and we need to make sure that when we collect information we understand why a situation has occurred so that our response is effective.
- It was a large female cassowary
- It was hit by two cars while on the road at dusk
- It was at a known frequent crossing area
- It was in an 80kph zone
- One driver stopped and reported the incident
- One of the drivers was local
- It was on a straight section of road with one side of the road a grass verge and the other with vegetation close to the road.
The recent satellite tagging project being carried out by DERM and the University of Queensland, funded by the State Government, in this instance, would not effectively add any more information than is already being collected through regular reported sightings and the placement of ‘recent crossing’ signs. “In fact the newly established online sightings database without the inclusion of extra important data will hinder progress by confusing responses and fragmenting current information gathering” Ms Gallie said.
Location of latest cassowary road kill at known crossing area.
For more information please contact;
Community for Coastal and Cassowary Conservation Inc (C4)
(07) 4068 7315
The Cairns Post also presented a story about this latest cassowary death on15 May 2010 in which they draw attention to the fact that the state government is trialling a crossing for cassowaries at Mission Beach but not in the area where these endangered birds are being killed.
I would like to thank the Cairns Post for publishing this story.
What are my thoughts?
I believe that these sorts of losses are far from tolerable especially when one takes into account that these are only the reported deaths. Just how often are these magnificent birds struck by a vehicle only to wander off and die alone, uncounted and unremembered in the scrub?
The speed limit needs to be reduced in these areas with speed limiting road structures rather than simply putting up signs and crossing our fingers for luck.
At Mission Beach we are gambling with the future of a precious keystone species.
As intelligent and rational people we should know better than to risk something that we simply cannot afford to lose.