Community fights for change to protect endangered species
A FAR North community is taking a new step in fighting for change on a notorious road that has claimed the life of three juvenile cassowaries in as many months.
The overtaking lane near the Saddle Mountain Rd turn off at Kuranda has been the scene for the tragedies, with the last surviving chick of Elvis the cassowary killed on July 2.
The most recent death has sparked the launch of a change.org petition calling for Transport and Main Roads to reduce the 80km/h speed limit on the deadly road to 60km/hr, in an effort to protect the endangered species.
With more than 2300 signatures of support so far, Jax Bergersen of Kuranda Conservation said the cassowary deaths highlighted the need for urgent change.
"We think that there's enough evidence now to say 'you can't just ignore this'," she said.
"We're not going to do any good by being sad and not doing anything, we have to do something.
"(TMR) likes consistency so 'would you be consistent to extend the (60km/h) speed limit on the Kuranda Range Road to the slow vehicle pull over lane?'
"It's not the perfect answer but it's a move in the right direction."
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey community education around driver behaviour was key to giving cassowary protection a higher profile, starting from school age up.
"With more people back on the roads, I've asked TMR to roll out a driver awareness campaign, alerting drivers to the fact they're entering cassowary territory," he said.
"Just like you drive safely to keep your family and other people on the road safe, I implore everyone driving through known cassowary habitats to drive safely for the sake of our cassowaries.
"We've got cassowary protection measures in place like variable message signs, ongoing vegetation management to increase the visibility of chicks and the report a cassowary app - but driving safely is the best measure to saving our cassowaries."
TMR will start work on a $30 million safety package for the Kuranda Range later this year.
Originally published as Community fights for change to protect endangered species