How to identify a cassowary

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Ever wondered how to recognise individual cassowaries?

Do you know about different cassowary casques, wattles, skirts, beaks, necks and feet?

Can you identify chicks, juveniles and sub-adults?

Kuranda Conservation has put together a wonderful page full of pictures and hints to help you identify individual cassowaries.

The cassowary identification project aims to record all the cassowaries in the Kuranda region and to follow their movements and behaviour. This includes where they cross roads and where juveniles disperse.

All photos courtesy of Kuranda Conservation.

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Save the Cassowary campaign launch

Will Meikle (Wildlife Sydney Zoo), Chris Hibbard (Zoos & Aquarium Association) and Jennifer Croes (Rainforest Rescue) Photographer: ©Geof Webb, Rainforest Rescue

Will Meikle (Wildlife Sydney Zoo), Chris Hibbard (Zoos & Aquarium Association) and Jennifer Croes (Rainforest Rescue) Photographer: ©Geof Webb, Rainforest Rescue

Rainforest Rescue held its Save the Cassowary campaign launch at the Sydney Wildlife Zoo in Darling Harbour on Monday 17 March 2014. The campaign aims to raise local, national and international awareness about the plight of the endangered cassowary and to educate the public about its importance in rainforest conservation.

The endangered southern cassowary will be Rainforest Rescue’s 2014 ambassador species and the voice of the rainforest. Rainforest Rescue has initiated the Save the Cassowary campaign in collaboration with the Zoo Aquarium Association and partner zoos, the Queensland Department of Environment Heritage & Protection, local councils, Girringun Aboriginal Corporation and business partners to highlight the plight of the cassowary, our rainforest gardener.

The campaign is closely aligned with the Rainforest Rescue’s expanded activities in the Wet Tropics which include rainforest buy-back, habitat restoration, cassowary population monitoring, community education, and support for the Garners Beach Cassowary Recovery Facility.

Jennifer Croes, Rainforest Rescue’s Conservation Scientist, said ‘Rainforest Rescue has developed a campaign to bridge the conservation gap, working with all our partners but most importantly, the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, to incorporate Traditional Owners and Indigenous knowledge and values to long-term conservation solutions. Cassowaries play not only a vital role in rainforest biodiversity, but also a significant cultural role in Indigenous traditions.

We are pleased to officially announce that Rainforest Rescue has entered a collaborative partnership with Queensland Government and the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation to manage the Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre at Garners Beach located in Mission Beach, Far North Queensland to care for injured, sick cassowaries and/or orphaned chicks to be released back in the wild where possible’.

Find out how you can support the campaign by visiting savethecassowary.org.au

Rainforest Rescue is an active member of the Cassowary Recovery Team.

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Cassowaries in National Geographic

The September 2013 edition of National Geographic has a ‘Big Bird’ story about cassowaries in the Wet Tropics and lots of wonderful photos by Christian Ziegler. You can read the story and see photos and videos on the National Geographic website.

The Cassowary Recovery Team assisted with information and editing for the article and data for the map.

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Cassowaries and vehicles caught on camera

Kuranda Conservation recently received grant funds for motion-activated cameras to help identify the number of cassowaries in the Kuranda region.These are the first shots from cameras set up near Black Mountain Road which show a  cassowary about to cross the road (arrowed below). Also captured are the logging trucks which use the road. The drivers recognise the need for care and slow down at this known cassowary crossing, but it does highlight the danger from all vehicles for these birds.

To find out more, see the monitoring page on the Kuranda Conservation website.

To report any sightings of cassowaries in the Kuranda region, see the sightings page on the Kuranda Conservation website.

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New signs for the Cassowary Coast

The Wet Tropics Management Authority has developed some new signs to educate people about cassowaries. Cassowary Coast Regional Council will be putting them up where cassowaries are frequently seen.

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A new sign will also be put up at Coquette Point where cassowaries are often seen on the beach and in the nearby rainforest and swamps. The sign also tells people to look after the little terns and other shorebirds that nest on the dunes and visit the beaches.

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New cassowary planning guidelines

New guidelines will help town planners and developers to protect the habitat of the region’s iconic cassowary and mahogany glider.

Cassowary at Coquette PointHabitat corridors connecting sections of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area are very important for the long term survival of cassowaries. Ecological corridors are a vital part of every Council’s new planning scheme. Good planning makes sure that their habitat is conserved and includes ecological corridors for wildlife to move across the landscape.

You can read more in the media release and cassowary guidelines flyer.

You can download the full Cassowaries in Planning Schemes Guideline.