Mystery animal bypass threat
Its identity might be a mystery right now, but an amphibian described by environmentalists only as "show-stopping" is giving opponents of the Tugun bypass C4 route hope that the route will be scuttled.
At an information meeting held by the Save Our Lakes and Heritage (SOLAH) group on Saturday, a little-known environmental lecturer let slip he had found an animal that could stop the C4 route from going ahead.
Griffith University environmental science lecturer Jean Marc Hero is believed to have been undertaking a biological study into the Cobaki area, where the C4 route is proposed to go, when he claims to have found the animal.
SOLAH committee member Richard Murray said Dr Hero could not reveal its species because he had reportedly been contracted by the Department of Main Roads for the study.
"I believe it's a showstopper, but because he was employed as a consultant he can't reveal what it is. He's not going to reveal it until he tells the appropriate authorities," he said.
"It's not surprising. The area itself is worthy of national park status and there is likely to be more to be found there than less to be found."
Gecko spokesperson Lois Levy said critics of the C4 route were trying not to get excited by the possibility of the animal.
"Apparently it is very special and has stopped roads elsewhere in NSW, so we are pretty excited and would love to know what it is," she said.
Dr Hero did not return calls yesterday, but a spokesperson for Queensland main roads minister Paul Lucas urged him to come forward with proof of his claims.
"I would be amazed if he has not told us before, but bring it on. We would invite it," he said.
"This is the public consultation period when people with an opinion or with any facts or figures should be telling us."
The spokesperson confirmed Dr Hero had been contracted by Main Roads but believed he was no longer employed by them.
The Cobaki area is already home to at least two species of biologically significant frogs.