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Double-wattled Cassowary
Contents:
  1. Southern Cassowary
  2. Friday, September 27
  3. What to do if you encounter a cassowary:
  4. Invasion of the Cassowaries | Science | Smithsonian

Rainforests need cassowaries Cassowaries are frugivores and eat fruit that has fallen to the ground. Without cassowaries, those rainforests would not be able to survive. It is estimated that up to plant species depend entirely on cassowaries to disperse their seeds. In some cases, cassowaries are the only bird to be able to digest certain fruit, such as the vivid Cassowary Plum Cerbera floribunda. It contains a sap poisonous to humans and most other animals. The Cassowary Plum is an important food source for the cassowary and the bird, in turn, distributes and helps germinate the seeds.

Southern Cassowary

When fruit is scarce, cassowaries have also been known to eat snails and small, dead mammals. They can do serious damage to people and other birds People who live in cassowary territory have a healthy respect of the big bird. Their heavy, muscular legs have three toes and each toe bears a large claw up to 0.

Once a Cassowary is 'tamed' and approaches people rather than avoids them, its chances of being killed increase dramatically. This is because the cassowary frequently approaches cars or wanders regularly through residential suburbs where it can be attacked by dogs, especially those breeds kept for their hunting skills. They are forced to seek food from plantation sources and this closeness to human settlements brings them into more frequent contact with dogs. As they try to move around the remaining patches of habitat between the beach and the sloping hinterland behind it, they are commonly run over by cars.

As an endangered and nationally listed species, there is help being directed towards protection and hopefully recovery of Cassowary numbers but there is still much that needs to be done.

The concern and action of everyone who resides in the Wet Tropics area is needed to save this bird but there are still too many people who aren't sufficiently interested. Simple steps can go a long way such as slowing down in Cassowary 'hot spot' areas and keeping dogs restricted to a fenced yard or on a leash. If the whole community takes up the challenge, we could save the Cassowary. For more information about cassowaries see the Australian Government page about the endangered Southern Cassowary.

Want to know about cassowaries? Check out our facebook page for up to date community shared info. Cassowary Recovery Plan. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

Friday, September 27

A brief history of Mission Beach - by Helen Pedley. Threatened Species Prospectus.


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Cassowary Recovery Team. Ecologically sustainable tourism for Mission Beach. Birdlife Australia magazine Wingspan Oct The cassowary in European natural history: Dr Steve Goosem. Latest research on cassowary numbers. Estimation of the population size and distribution of the southern cassowary, Casuarius casuarius , in the Wet Tropics Region of Australia. Gunduy - Indigenous cultural significance. Djiru people managing country at Mission Beach. What's inside a cassowary casque? Curious facts about the cassowary. Buy online. Jigurru Storm Season - a rainforest story.

There are ferns that look like coconut palms—tall, thin trunks crowned with long, frondlike leaves—and palms with leaves like huge Japanese fans. There are trees on trees, and orchids on trees, and way up high, ferns like baskets. And as the forest has dwindled, so has the cassowary. How many are left? This is the most contentious question in cassowary biology. In Australia the bird is listed as endangered; most tallies put the number of cassowaries around 1, to 2, But these are guesstimates: No one knows for sure. The trouble is, cassowaries are hard to count.

They live alone, in dense forests. Attempts to estimate numbers based on DNA taken from droppings have not been published. Nor have estimates based on photographs of individuals coming to emergency feeding stations set up after cyclones. What is clear is that cassowaries have problems. Just as cassowaries sometimes kill dogs, dogs sometimes kill cassowaries—especially young birds.

Feral pigs may destroy cassowary nests, and cassowaries sometimes die in pig traps.

What to do if you encounter a cassowary:

Another hazard is traffic. And in Mission Beach, a pretty seaside town south of Cairns, several cassowaries are killed on the roads every year. I saw one victim, lying in the back of a pickup truck belonging to the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service; the ranger had collected it right after the accident was called in.

It was a young female, just on the edge of sexual maturity. Her casque was small, and she still had a few brown feathers. The bed of the truck was smeared with blood, and muck was oozing out of her mouth. Her legs were scraped. Her eyes were open but unseeing.

I reached over and touched her. The skin on her neck was velvety. And her casque was not hard, as I had expected, but spongy. Seen up close, her feet looked huge. He lifted the body out of the truck and put it in a freezer, to await an autopsy. As he did so, another cassowary appeared from behind a building, a jarring contrast between the majesty of the living and the mangled body of the dead.

Roads also carve up the forest. And as the forest becomes more fragmented, it becomes harder for young cassowaries to find their own territories.


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  4. Site navigation.
  5. Laceys Key;
  6. Mission Beach Cassowaries - ABOUT CASSOWARIES?
  7. Because these birds are so territorial, it takes a certain amount of suitable habitat to sustain a population at all. Which brings me to the other big problem: development. In Mission Beach a development called Oasis is typical. It has paved streets with names like Sandpiper Close, lined with streetlamps.

    But there are no houses yet: just empty lots, the grass neatly mown, garnished with For Sale signs. The only inhabitants are a flock of ibises, sheltering from the sun in the shade of the few remaining trees. Some locals are trying to prevent all this—clubbing together to buy land to create nature preserves, replanting rain forest trees on cleared land, and lobbying farmers not to cut down forest. The hope is to link forest fragments, so that young cassowaries looking for territories can move from one fragment to another without having to cross the open fields of sugarcane plantations, or big highways.

    Invasion of the Cassowaries | Science | Smithsonian

    For the cassowary depends on the forest even more than the forest depends on the cassowary. I want to leave you with a final image. Suddenly the youngest of the children comes tearing through the trees to tell me that Crinklecut and his chicks are on their way to a nearby creek. As I come within sight of them, Crinklecut stretches up to his full height and looks at me. Then he and his chicks stroll off, into the dusk.

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    Big Bird In the far north of Australia the cassowary plays a central role in shaping the rain forest. By Olivia Judson.