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21 May, 2020

Calls to be Cass-O-Wary

A male cassowary called Elvis who is regularly seen on the Kuranda range has lost another of his baby chicks.

By Phil Brandel

Elvis and Priscilla lose another baby

A male cassowary called Elvis who is regularly seen on the Kuranda range has lost another of his baby chicks, with three of his four young being killed by motorists over the past 12 months.

Speewah based Paul Webster, founder of world cassowary day said the chick that was killed was getting close to leaving the nest.

“The chick was hit by a truck just before 7am on Tuesday, May 19 at the exact same spot where Elvis lost a previous chick." he said

“The babies were so close to leaving the nest because Priscilla, Elvis’s girlfriend has been making courtship moves on Elvis and they get rid of the chicks prior to courtship.”

Mr Webster says that a fence needs to be put up around the area where Elvis lives.

“If you're driving towards Cairns, you head across the Barron River Bridge and just after Butler drive you go over the rise and there’s a bus depot on your right,” Mr Wesbter said

“They are very territorial; they always hang around the same places.”

Mr Butler says part of the problem is the Kuranda range. “When I first moved here 40 years ago, we would’ve been lucky to have 500 cars a day on the range, today there are over 10,000 cars a day. The interval between cars now means animals have less time to cross the road,” he said

“What we are asking is for people to drive slowly during these times, and be aware cassowaries are not the smartest birds when it comes to roads.

“I’m also asking people not to throw their rubbish out of windows. Any sugar smell or anything sweet will bring wildlife to the edge of the roads.”

Mr Webster said the timing of yesterday's death was no coincidence.

“We’ve had less traffic on the road over the past eight weeks and animals become lax when there are fewer cars are about.”

A TMR spokesperson said the department was aware of the latest death and took cassowary protection seriously by working closely with cassowary advocacy groups to prevent road strikes.

The spokesperson said TMR was undertaking a $100,000 study to develop a Cassowary Strike Management Plan and had implemented safety measures including signage, monitoring cameras and apps, and vegetation management.

If you do see an incident with an animal phone 131940 or 1300 130 372



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