50 meetings since 1996

The Cassowary Recovery Team met on 24 February 2015 and celebrated the 50th meeting of the cassowary team. Steve Russell,  the first chair of the Cassowary Advisory Group, explained how the Wet Tropics Management Authority had helped to form the group in 1996 to advocate for cassowary conservation and to advise the Authority’s Board. A major achievement of the group was to educate and engage the broader community to help look after the endangered cassowary population. Allen Sheather, also a former chair, has attended most of the 50 meetings.

In 2009 the Advisory Group was revamped to become the official Cassowary Recovery Team, responsible for implementing the Australian Government’s recovery plan and providing advice on cassowary conservation issues. Andrew Maclean, Executive Director of the Authority, has been the chair of the Cassowary Recovery Team since its inception.

Andrew Maclean, Allen Sheather and Steve Russell celebrate 50 meetings since 1996

Andrew Maclean, Allen Sheather and Steve Russell celebrate 50 meetings since 1996

Colin the Cassowary finds a new home

Anne O'Brien organising Colin's flight from Fiji

Anne O’Brien organising Colin’s flight from Fiji

Colin the Cassowary has kindly been donated to the Wet Tropics by artist Anne O’Brien from Fiji. Anne makes life-sized, realistic sculptures using recycled fabrics – see her anniemalsartist website. Colin is now on permanent loan to the Cassowary Recovery Team to help raise awareness of the plight of cassowaries.

Colin has already met the Threatened Species Commissioner, Gregory Andrews, at the Australian Birdfair in Sydney and is now being cared for by Kuranda Conservation.

Jax Bergersen, Gregory Andrews, Colin the Cassowary and Dianne Daniels at Birdfair Australia

Jax Bergersen, Gregory Andrews, Colin the Cassowary and Dianne Daniels at Birdfair Australia

Jax and Colin get to know each other

Jax and Colin get to know each other

Colin attends a Cassowary Recovery Team meeting

Colin attends a Cassowary Recovery Team meeting

Many thanks to Deb Pople

After two years of devotion to cassowary conservation, Tablelands tree planting and tramp ant eradication, Deb Pople has decided to leave the Wet Tropics Management Authority and apply her considerable skills and experience in new realms.

Deb has been a driving force behind the Cassowary Recovery Team and established the website from scratch. She will be greatly missed.

All the best Deb, and we hope to still see you around the Wet Tropics!

Zoo and Aquarium Association Cassowary Husbandry Workshop

The Zoo and Aquarium Association hosted a cassowary husbandry workshop on 3-4 August 2011 to update the Cassowary Husbandry Manual (Romer Ed. 1997) with the latest information about all aspects of the captive management of the Southern Cassowary. The primary aim of the document will be to update and improve captive cassowary husbandry and management across the board, and it will be freely shared with all establishments housing Southern Cassowaries, and with those who work with, or would like to work with, the species.  Continue reading

Cyclone Yasi Response 14/02/12


“Twelve months have now passed since Cyclone Yasi damaged large areas of cassowary habitat between Cardwell and Innisfail and at Mission Beach on 2 and 3 February 2011.

The forest is showing significant signs of recovery. Trees now contain significant re-growth, and flowering and fruit development continue to increase, highlighting the resilience of these forests. However, due to the significant damage to the forest caused by the cyclone, the supply of rainforest fruits is still at a low level.

Continue reading

Keeping track

Young cassowary chicks have a low chance of survival after the premature death of a parent, so chicks are regularly brought into care at the Garner’s Beach rehabilitation facility where they are hand-reared by DERM staff until ready for release into the wild.

Until recently, nothing was known about the fate of the released birds, but a new research project is changing that. Continue reading

Traffic impacts on cassowaries

Road mortality is the greatest cause of known cassowary deaths at Mission Beach. Between 1992 and June 2010, at least 60 cassowaries died on local roads. At the request of Terrain NRM, James Cook University (JCU) undertook significant research into traffic impacts on cassowaries (and other fauna) on Mission Beach roads.  Continue reading