Monday, July 22, 2013

One little, two little, three dead wallabies

[Michele] Today was a three wallaby morning.  Three dead wallabies found along my morning run.

Just to clarify I'm talking about the marsupial and not the rugby team.  Not that I wouldn't mind seeing the jerseyed wallabies on my morning run --  certainly the jerseyed sort of wallabies would be better at avoiding cars than the marsupials.  But actually, the marsupials don't have much of a chance here in South Mission Beach.
Wallaby, the marsupial
Wallabies from the Aussie rugby team

Back in 2009 we would walk or ride bikes to the Hull river to see the big mobs of wallabies grazing in the ranch lands there.  This year the wallabies are all over South Mission Beach.  It isn't so much that the population has exploded.  We are told that they migrated last year into the residential part of South Mission Beach when the wet season arrived late.  Having run out of feed in the ranched areas they moved into the residential area and discovered the bounty of watered and fertilized lawns.  The wet came but the wallabies haven't moved back.

So there are now hundreds and hundreds of wallabies in South Mission Beach.  Wallaby poop is pretty much everywhere (at least they are herbivores). The poop is really just a minor nuisance as the big problem is that they are getting hit by cars every night.  Driving through South Mission Beach at night there are mobs of wallabies on every block grazing on the lawns.  They get dazed by the headlights so that you end up being an involuntary participant in wallaby-slalom.

The results of impatient driving are dead wallabies along the roads every morning.  A guy in Innisfail told Gavin that his friend who lives in South Mission Beach hit 8 wallabies within a month.  We're guessing that fellow is on the impatient end of the driving spectrum.

Each day (except Sunday) a patrol comes to pick up the road kill and I suppose that they are keeping a tally somewhere of the total killed each night.   As my runs get longer, I might start counting more but so far on every run I see 2 or more dead wallabies on my 2 miles out and back run.  Sunday mornings are grim because Saturday night drivers seem to be less patient than other nights.  However, Monday mornings are the worst.  Since there is no road kill pick up on Sundays, I might start forgoing Monday morning runs.

Everyone that we have talked to in South Mission Beach has an opinion on the wallabies.  Are they part of the natural ecosystem that we should adapt to?  If you don't like the poo, just install a fence around your lot.  I have to say I'm now appreciating the unfriendly fence around our lot.  Alternatively, are the wallabies a safety hazard that require culling of the mobs?  Hoon* or not, both sides lose in wallaby-slalom as a new bumper can be pricey.

*Hoon = someone who drives recklessly

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