Following the removal of cassowary warning signs on the Kuranda Range by Transport and Main Roads (TMR) a local conservation group has decided to take matters into their own hands to try and protect the local cassowary population.
Earlier this year Elvis the Cassowary lost four of his chicks to car strikes on a renowned stretch of the Kuranda range.
At the time Members of the Kuranda Conservation group erected black silhouette signs where the birds were killed to draw attention to the plight of the endangered bird and to get drivers to slow down.
Last week TMR decided to remove the signs claiming that the signs could distract drivers from other traffic-related warning and advisory signs.
“This was due to concerns raised by road users including reports of near-misses where drivers were distracted by the signs.” A TMR spokesperson said.
Now Kuranda Conversation has decided to take the protection of the birds into their own hands by erecting a self-funded fence along the top of the Kuranda Range.
Jax Bergersen from Kuranda Conservation said they hope the new fence will encourage local cassowaries to use another section to cross or to go underneath the Barron River Bridge.
“We are building a green shade cloth fence along the highway, where there are 4 lanes and the speed limit increases to 80 kilometres an hour,” she said.
“We hope the fence will stop Elvis and his new chicks from accessing the road.
“We are not cutting his habitat in half; we are just hoping that he will cross under the Barron River Bridge.”
Ms Bergersen said the fence will be between 600 metres and a kilometre in length and will cost around $6000 dollars to purchase with all of the building being done by volunteers.
“It’s purely to stop him crossing at the overtaking lanes, that area there is a killing zone,” she said
“What we really want is the TMR to reduce the speed limit; it shouldn’t be an overtaking lane.
“The rest of the range is only 60 kilometres per hour.”
The TMR rejected the proposal to lower the 80km/h zone at the Saddle Mountain Road turn-off instead a spokesperson said they are “talking to local wildlife experts to reduce the risk of cassowary road strikes”.