Founder of Kuranda Conservation Jax Bergersen wants drivers to slow down and be alert to cassowaries in the area. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Founder of Kuranda Conservation Jax Bergersen wants drivers to slow down and be alert to cassowaries in the area. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

‘This is a killing zone’: locals reacts to sign removal

A GOVERNMENT department has outlawed a series of cassowary-shaped roadside cutouts at the top of Kuranda Range.

Following a spate of fatal road strikes in July, members of the Kuranda Conservation group erected signs where the birds were killed to draw attention to the plight of the endangered flightless bird.

Frustrated sign creator Sue Schwass said she just wanted to protect a second lot of juvenile birds that called the area home.

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"This is a killing zone," she said.

"In that 80km/h zone people plant their foot and we have got four new babies, the cassowaries don't have a chance. These birds have been here for millions of years.

"We should be building a corridor so they can have free rein over the area.

"Most people driving up and down there would have seen the signs.

"You don't have to look at them again and again."

The Department of Transport and Main Roads is holding firm on a rejection of a proposal to lower the 80km/h zone at the Saddle Mountain Road turn-off.

However it is talking to "local wildlife experts to reduce the risk of cassowary road strikes".

A spokesman said unofficial signs could distract drivers from other traffic-related warning and advisory signs. "Roadside memorials adhere to strict guidelines and are recorded in a TMR register," he said.

"We arranged for the removal of the cassowary silhouette signs at Kuranda which have been collected by the owner.

"This was due to concerns raised by road users including reports of near-misses where drivers were distracted by the signs."

Kuranda Conservation has spearheaded a crowd-funding campaign to fence private land bordering the Kennedy Highway, aimed at curbing cassowary death rates.

"You feel so frustrated. (We are) just trying to help an endangered bird," Ms Schwass said. So far $2094 of the group's $6000 target has been raised.

Originally published as 'This is a killing zone': Kuranda reacts to forced sign removal


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