'Can be unpredictable': Hidden danger spotted on quiet road

·News Reporter
·2-min read

Can you spot the hidden danger lurking in this photo?

Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads posted a photo to Facebook asking drivers to "be wary for a surprise just like this".

Pictured was a road in what appears to be Mission Beach, north of Townsville.

A number of eagle-eyed viewers were quick to spot the hazard.

“I see what you did there,” one woman wrote.

A cassowary seen standing by a road in Queensland.
Can you see the danger hiding in this image? Source: Facebook/ Department of Transport and Main Roads Queensland

On the right side of the road, a cassowary can be seen standing in the grass.

“Cassowaries are a beautiful, beloved icon of the Wet Tropics – but they can also be unpredictable,” the department wrote.

“We can’t bear another cassowary strike, so always be cass-o-wary in cassowary territory.”

Cassowary concerns

Cassowary advocate Paul Webster, who is based in Kuranda near Cains, shared his concerns about the birds crossing roads with the ABC last May.

He added the birds were feeling more comfortable crossing roads due to less traffic during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

A cassowary can be seen on the side of a road in Queensland.
A cassowary can be seen on the side of a road in Queensland. Source: Facebook/Department of Transport and Main Roads

"Obviously, with less traffic, the birds feel more at ease crossing the road and they get that false sense of security,” Mr Webster told the ABC.

“[They think], 'we have less traffic, it's easy to wander around with my chicks'.”

A cassowary is pictured in a stock photo.
Researchers have aired many concerns about cassowaries being hit by cars. Source: Getty Images, file

He added in the Macalister Range, in the Cairns Region, 10 to 20 per cent of its cassowary population have been killed within the last decade. The range homes about 50 to 60 birds.

The CSIRO also announced in 2019 it would be launching new surveillance to help reduce the road toll and learn more about the birds’ behaviour in the process.

Tony O’Malley, from Terrain Natural Resource Management which was part of the research team, said “vehicle strike” was the leading cause of cassowary deaths.

“These new smart cameras will capture in detail the interactions between cassowaries, roads and drivers and increase our understanding of how cassowaries and drivers behave around each other,” he said.

“The findings will help identify effective solutions to improve cassowary and driver awareness and safety.”

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