Cassowary capture, tagging and tracking

Attachment of a GPS data logger

Attachment of a GPS data logger

The Australian Veterinary Journal has published a paper on successful methods for cassowary immobilisation, restraint, transport and satellite tracking. The paper outlines the use of anaesthetics for safe handling of adult and juvenile cassowaries taken into captivity and released back into the wild.

The paper also details safe ways to transport cassowaries and to attach satellite trackers to monitor their movements after release back into their natural environment. Monitoring indicates that the released cassowaries suffered no behavioural ill-effects from the chemical immobilisation, restraint or transport.

 The cross marks the spot for needle entry for the anaesthetic.

The cross marks the spot for needle entry for the anaesthetic.

This is one of the first studies to use satellite telemetry to monitor the movements of a free-ranging large ratite. Future monitoring of released cassowaries can help to tell us a lot about their movements and behaviour. Longer term satellite studies are required to assess if the birds successfully locate and establish a home range and develop into breeding adults.

The authors of the study are Hamish Campbell (UNE), Ross Dwyer (UQ), Scott Sullivan (QPWS), Dan Mead (QPWS) and Graham Lauridsen (Tropical Vet Services, Tully).

 

You can download a copy of the paper below:

Chemical immobilisation and satellite tagging of free-living southern cassowaries

 

 

Cassowary Sightings Log

Cassowary Sightings from the Cassowary Coast 1999-2012

For many years, CRT member C4 have been collecting sightings information about cassowaries through a daily log at their Visitor Centre in Mission Beach.

When local retiree, Jeff Larson (a self-confessed “mad stats” person), joined C4 in 2009, he generously volunteered his time to enter all the data into a spreadsheet for public viewing. Continue reading

Community Collaboration for Cassowaries

Several members of the Cassowary Recovery Team - Mission Beaches Cassowaries, Kuranda Conservation, and the Daintree Region Cassowary Group – have joined forces to apply for a Community Action Grant with assistance from Terrain NRM.  If successful, the $20,000 grant will fund delivery of local community awareness and information sharing workshops and help to improve data collection and recording methods. Read more about it on Terrain NRM’s website. UPDATE (June 2012): unfortunately this application was not successful, but CRT members are continuing to look for alternative sources of funding. If you can help, please let us know!

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