Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

November 27th 2008
Letter: Horseshoe Bay roadkill continues

Another road-killed wallaby Over the past month, I have had to bury three Allied Wallabies in my garden. All have been hit by vehicles speeding up the top end of Horseshoe Bay Road past the Black Stump towards Arcadia. I saw the second of these struck by a car that was travelling at more than 80 kmh and the driver didn't pause for a second, despite a loud and sickening thud.

Over the same period, I have noticed at least three other native Wallabies dead on the side of the road, further round the bend. Presumably these met the same fate.

At least a couple of issues here. Firstly, some people are driving through the area much too fast. Certainly much too fast to brake or swerve to avoid swiping these unfortunate creatures. Secondly, this part of the Road is poorly lit and its probably impossible to see the Wallabies until it is too late. Also, virtually all of the roadside animal safety reflectors that were installed several years ago are now gone.

What really puzzles me is that in 13 years of living in the area, I have never previously seen any dead Allied Wallabies on the side of this part of Horseshoe Bay Road. There seems to have been a sudden spike in their numbers with a lot of juveniles roaming around (eg. two of the three I buried).



Anecdotal information from friends living in other parts of the Island seems to confirm this. Is the population really booming, or are they simply invading our watered gardens to find fresh food? Or could it be the case that these indigenous creatures are being displaced by other, perhaps introduced, animals? Perhaps a Scientist out there might have an explanation.

In the meantime, slow down, take care and watch out for these beautiful little creatures when you are travelling around the Island. Shaving 10 or 15 kmh off your driving speed is not going to make a crucial difference to your travelling time in such a small place.

Robert Barton
Horseshoe Bay


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Letter: Horseshoe Bay roadkill continues
 
17 comments
 
Sara
November 27th 2008
Is it possible that the new estates along Gifford Street are taking over their normal habitat? Is it worth thinking about permanent speed humps along Horseshoe Bay Road? Would signage make any difference? ... and to be 'slightly' controversial, put a permanent speed camera at the top of the hill... hmmm, may be not a popular answer to the problem!
 
Barbara Gibbs
November 27th 2008
I counted 6 dead possums between the same area and the forts bus stop last Wednesday, and have seen 4 rock wallabies on the Nelly Bay/Geoffrey Bay section of the road...along with the numerous amount of possums, wallabies and curlews in surburban streets. Island drivers, not just tourists, are guilty of driving excessively fast, and many are women. Why live on an island when you are still in city mode? Plan better and slow down. It saves you fuel as well.
 
Slow Island
November 27th 2008
A 50kph maximum speed throughout the Island, togther with the new higher fines might encourage a few to slow down. Personally I have no objection to police so called "revenue raising" with speed guns. The law is the law and what few seconds can you save in our short distances anyway?
 
Natalie
November 28th 2008
Did you know that if you travelled from Horseshoe bay to Nelly at 50km/hour, instead of 60km/hour, your journey takes a whole 2 minutes longer!

By travelling faster you are using more fuel, increasing the possibility of an accident (for yourself, other road users and animals) and elevating your stress levels through those sharp corners...... all for 2 minutes. Is it worth it?
 
Peter
November 28th 2008
All of your correspondents (re Rob's plea) to date have, albeit politely, identified contributing cause and effect.
Perhaps it is time to lift the veil that hides the 'bogan' component of our community (and they are not confined to only our local youth but adults as well) who persist with indiscriminate driving habits that bespeak a callous disregard for our environment more generally.
H/S Bay Rd, Gifford, Swensen and Apjohn Streets are a roadkill focus.
One only has listen to evidence the speeds seemingly attained in these streets, even in the short section of Swensen St, by locals, not tourists.
Barbara sums it nicely .." why live on an island...?" and 'Slow Island' as well is on track.
It would be interesting to profile all those so adamantly opposed, or indifferent, to a blanket 50kph together with applied enforcement.
Indeed, why would they live on an island?
Despite the best of avoidance intent road kill does happen but as matters stand currently in this community that kill count is seriously aggravated by indiscriminate, selfish and indulgent habits.

 
Eric Vanderduys
November 28th 2008
One possible explanation for the increase in road-kill, apart from potential obvious reasons like 'more people on the island' is that the wallabies are spreading. The dead wallaby in the picture is not an Allied Wallaby, but an Agile Wallaby (Macropus agilis), which is not native to Magnetic Island. It's not clear if the wallaby in the picture is one of the road-killed wallabies you're talking about Rob. The Allied Rock-wallaby (Petrogale assimilis) is the only wallaby native to Maggie. Others who have been on the island longer than me would be better placed to comment on the spread of Agiles over the years, but I reckon they're still on the increase and spread from their point of release/escape. This may be what's taking them to that part of Horseshoe Bay. I have seen one in Nelly Bay, about 6 months ago.
It's not clear if there has been or is likely to be any impact on the native Allied Rock-wallabies from the introduced Agile Wallabies, but at a gues I'd say significant impacts are unlikely because the two frequently co-habit in many other places in our general region. I think both species are (currently) doing quite well out of humanity on the island, apart from the individuals killed on the roads of course!
 
Viv
November 28th 2008
Rob, and many others I'm sure - thanks for taking the time to care enough to bury our dead wildlife. As a member of MIFCO (Magnetic Island Fauna Care Organisation) I see many injured or dead animals, most of them killed by car or attacked by domestic pets. There is nothing we can do to help dead animals, but we can try and limit the number of animals being injured by taking the time to think about how to share the Island with them. If we have to slow down, then so be it; if we have to keep our pets inside the garden perimeter and on a leash, then so be that also. It is very sad to see so many badly injured and helpless animals. MIFCO needs your help - come and have a chat with us at our Sunday market stall and find out what you can do to help our native wildlife
 
Chris C
November 28th 2008
I'm with lowering the speed limit!!

Regarding increasing numbers of wobblys - I've watched the same little mob feeding in front of my place in Nelly for the last 3 years or so and the numbers remain very stable.

However, they are much more likely to come out of the hills at the end of the dry season looking for the only bits of green on the island - watered lawns, the parsley patch & the very edges of roads where any runoff collects.

Like I said - I'm with lowering the speed limit!!
 
george Hirst Ed
November 30th 2008

Just to clarify the photo used. I wasn't certain at the time which type of wallaby Rob referred to in his letter but have checked now that the wallabies in question were definitely Allied or, as most readers would know them, the regular smaller and darker Island rock wallabies. The photo is of an Agile wallaby which was killed on Gifford Street earlier this year. George Hirst Ed.

 
Jill
December 2nd 2008
Look how much of what was grassland is now built over in the Horseshoe Bay area! Is it any wonder that the wallabies, who don't like the broad-bladed grass mainly used on turfed lawns, even if they are intrepid enough to brave the neighbourhood dogs, are pushed to the very edges of their territory to graze on native foliage?

We are taking their native habitat, we are bucketing along our roads at 60kph or more - result, disadter, not only for the wallabies, but for posums and, perhaps most tragically, our curlews.

All our wildlife does tend to congregate at the edges of roads towards the end of the dry season, as this is the only place they can obtain the 'green pick' they need for health. Add a speeding car - a recipe for disaster.

How much of our wildlife do we have to kill before real steps are taken to reduce the CARnage? 20%? 50%? 80%? I estimate we are already running at over 10% for curlews. Will our beloved wobblies be next?
 
Val
December 4th 2008
I'm all for reducing the speed limit. I believe that after dusk it should be 40kph. However, people breaking the speed limit at 60kph will continue to do so whether it is reduced to 50 or 40. I noticed one lazy Sunday the police had set up their speed camera on Gifford Street, and I thought "Great!" Sadly, in the time I saw them there, none of the speedsters were out. If only the Government could afford to have the police there for a longer period of time, particularly at dusk or afterwards, they might get some results.
 
liz
December 31st 2008
People drive WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY TOO FAST on the Island!!!

Slow DOWN!!! Whats the rush?

Locals should petition for increased and prevelant police presence on the roads: -

a) $200 fine for going over 50kph, preferably 40kph.

b) Speedbumps, rumble strips, traffic-calming measures.

c) Name and Shame those who repeatedly offend or who are caught/witnessed going way too fast.

NOW!!!
 
Suzy Gilmour
February 12th 2009
Sure - lower the speed rate and put in speedbumps. But one of the most effective measures was one championed, Ithink, some years ago by Jenny Mulchaey. That was the angled reflectors that, as cars approached with headlights on, angled the beam back into the bush, so that wallabies and possums stopped BEFORE they got onto the road, until the car had passed.

Many of the reflectors have gone over the years, but there is , I gather, a stash of them still held by council. Finding those and having them reused would be worthwhile. Though of course pillories could be a lotta lotta fun.
 
Alex
March 13th 2009
First of all, we have to look at ourselves and how we conduct our driving around the island. Most of us do the right thing and it's easy to do simply because what's the rush on Magnetic Island?
But I have noticed that some of the lead-foot culprits are indeed some of the taxi drivers and the pizza delivery drivers on the island.
I'm telling you this because I have been tailgated by these people in spite of pushing my speed to 60km/h.
Yet, these guys just don't care and as soon as they get a bit of a room they will fly pass you doing over 80km/h along the straight roads.
Funny enough, you don't seem to see the Police around these times to catch these fast and the furious wannabes.
it makes me laugh because some time ago one of these taxi drivers who I've seen flying around the Island was backing the idea of dropping the speed limit to 50km/h all around the Island.
Now with the potholes in every single street, it is quite concerning to see these morons speeding and having no regard for public safety, even worse regarding wildlife safety.
I think it is time for the Cops on the Island to do their job, even if they personally know the culprits.
I'm still a bit upset when in mid-December on a Saturday evening at 7pm after the buses left I got fined for stopping for 2 minutes at the courtesy bus stop at the terminal. I coped with the fine, I was not suppose to be there but there was no first warning or anything; and yet, I see almost on every working day between working hours people not only parking at the courtesy bus stop, but also at the taxi rank and even the very bus stops at the terminal and the cops are nowhere to be seen to punish these people.
I still feel hard done by it, because it was on a Saturday evening and being almost X-mas I don't wanna think that our Cops on the Island only go out there to target people to do some revenue-raising.
Slow Down you Moron before you kill someone or kill yourselves... enough wildlife has been killed already.
 
Dylan Campbell
April 11th 2009
I go over for a holiday to maggie every year and i am amazed at the speeds some people do there. It is such a short drive from one place to another that doing 75 is not going to achieve anything but increase the chances of killing animals and getting into an accident. I hear that people are suggesting that the speed limit be reduced to 50. Changing the original speed limit won't achieve anything, getting everyone to do the actual speed limit is the big test.
 
Sylvia Hayes
May 18th 2009
I ride a scooter on the island and one evening a wallaby jumped across the road in front of me. If I had been driving a bit faster both of us might have been killed.I'm now very aware of evening wildlife and try to avoid riding at this time.
Sure I'm probably a slow coach nuisance to many car drivers behind me but honestly...I don't care. I used to be a driver who would pull over to let others pass but now I drive at my own safe speed and keep to the middle like a car driver. I've had cars overtake me on double lines and I think they must be rushing for the ferry or very stressed. What can you do about people's attitudes? It's hard to change that.
 
Andrew Kerans
April 27th 2011
OK, after nearly being run down on the corner of Henry Lawson i have made up my mind who the worst speeding offenders are.

Magnetic busses!

It is also not the first time i have observed this over the extra long weekend.

Andrew Kerans


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