Conservationists are asking a familiar-sounding question: Why did the Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish cross the road? One answer is, of course, to get to the other side. The bigger question is why does this unique and endangered species risk becoming roadkill when it could pass through a culvert beneath the road?
The Mt Roland Landcare Group are on the investigation, starting in the places where crayfish had been seen crossing the road and established that it was always where culverts channelled creeks under a road. Where creeks and streams are channelled through a culvert pipe, a deep hole often forms on the downstream side. The crayfish moving upstream then have to negotiate a slippery step up out of deep water to access the culvert. Instead of going through the culvert, they climb the bank and cross the road, which puts them in danger of being run over.
Todd Walsh, an expert on these crayfish, believes the crayfish struggle to move through the round culvert as there is nothing for them to grip onto.
The Landcare group is currently experimenting with different options to help the crayfish through the culverts, including ladders and ropes.
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