Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dangerous Roads

Michele: Last week a Cassowary was struck by a car and killed on the road in Wongaling Beach (the next town). Cars and dogs are the leading dangers for the less than 3000 or so Cassowaries left in far north Queensland. We feel very lucky to have seen 4 Cassowaries since we've been here and hope that they will be around for a long time.

Signs are posted along the road to remind motorists to slow down as they pass through the rainforest. Some signage, such as "Cassowaries utilize this area" seem a little wordy to my ear. The sign pictured here gets to the point with the graphics even if the text is a little passive-aggressive. There is another passive-aggressive one that says "Are you Speeding?". Why don't they just make it an imperative "slow down". When I first saw these signs I hadn't yet seen a Cassowary and thought that the scale of the bird was a little off in the graphics. It is not! The Cassowaries are large and could seriously damage a car. Never the less, few people drive at the posted speeds.

We've seen a fair bit of road kill here but the most unusual that I've seen was a wild pig this morning in Wongaling. It was huge and I'm sure that whoever hit it has some body damage to their vehicle. Most of the road kill are Wallabies. Wallabies fill the same ecological niche as deer back in North America. They graze on grass in herds, inspire paintings, invade vegetable gardens, take over some communities and they are just as dumb. You know that phrase 'like a deer in the headlights'? Well it works for Wallabies too. One evening I came down a hill towards a Wallaby, slowing down the whole way and the critter just stared at me. Just before I came to a complete stop 10 meters from the marsupial did it realize that it should probably hop away.

1 comment:

  1. wow.. interesting... its sad these animals are SO big.. that they still die from cars!.. i liked the last sentence here.. i smiled at that....