The death of the last surviving chick of Elvis the cassowary has reignited calls for better protection of the endangered flightless bird.
The death of the last surviving chick of Elvis the cassowary has reignited calls for better protection of the endangered flightless bird.

Pressure on government after rare cassowary chick is killed

THE death of the last surviving chick of Elvis the cassowary at the top of the Kuranda Range in Far North Queensland has reignited calls for better protection of the endangered flightless bird.

Three of Elvis' chicks have now been hit and killed at the same place.

Jax Bergersen of the Kuranda Conservation group had been pushing for a speed reduction from 80 to 60km/h at the overtaking lane near the Saddle Mountain Rd turn off but was dismayed by a letter from authorities indicating there would be no change.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads has been blamed for another dead cassowary on Kuranda Range. Picture: FACEBOOK
The Department of Transport and Main Roads has been blamed for another dead cassowary on Kuranda Range. Picture: FACEBOOK

"Changing the intent of the lanes by making the left lane an optional turn out lane would reduce the effectiveness of this opportunity. If TMR were to reconfigure the lanes, drivers may get stuck behind slow vehicles that choose not to pull into the left lane," Transport and Main Roads told Ms Bergersen.

"This would increase the risk of drivers attempting unsafe manoeuvres further down the road.

"TMR currently has no intent to change the configuration of this section of Kennedy Highway."

The Kuranda-based conservationist labelled the response "ridiculous".

"They just (changed the speed limit) for the whole of the Kuranda Range Rd and now they are saying we can't take that risk for the last 200m."

Kuranda resident Jax Bergersen is worried about cassowaries on the Kuranda Range.
Kuranda resident Jax Bergersen is worried about cassowaries on the Kuranda Range.

Ms Bergersen said she felt the protection of cassowaries simply had not been made a priority by TMR.

"I am more angry than I am sad because there is something that can be done and what is angering me is there is a refusal by TMR to do anything about it," she said.

"They can do it. They simply have to change the speed limit at that location to 60km/h. "There have been three deaths in six months in exactly the same spot."

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the latest death was "very sad".

"Last week I met with cassowary welfare advocates to look at what more can be done to avoid the deaths of these magnificent birds on local roads," he said.

Reducing speed limits and cassowary crossing points were suggested to reduce the mortality rate.

Work on a $30 million Kuranda Range safety package to include "intelligent traffic systems" are expected to begin before Christmas, Mr Bailey said.

Originally published as Pressure on minister after final cassowary chick killed


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