Police Superintendent Michael Kenny says rumors have locals putting koala bears and other dead animals in the freezer to use as blunt objects to toss at rally cars, while other rumors have residents laying down on the road so the cars cannot pass. The issue that has so many residents up in arms is that the rally starts today – during mating season – and many are concerned that the fast-moving Subarus and Fords could scare off the wildlife. Protest groups No Rally and Kyogle-based 7th Generation circulated petitions to stop the race, but the groups got only 705 signatures online. 7th Generation insists that any protests will be peaceful, but Tweed-Byron police will have 150 officers in cars, on foot and in the air to make sure the event goes off without any airborne mammals – frozen or otherwise.
For their part, race officials say they are taking great pains to ensure that the event is safe for both the drivers and any local wildlife that may enter the field of play. Repco Rally Australian chairman Garry Connelly told local paper The Northern Star that advanced road tracking techniques will be used to help animals injured during the event. According to Connelly:
"We have put in place a unique technology for the World Championship, in fact for motor sport – a unique road tracking system in relation to wildlife that may be injured during the event and we will have a very solid and conclusive, proven method of determining any road kill or any animal that is injured and we will be recording that and that will be in our report."[Source: Stuff | Image: Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty]