One of the young birds recently released Photo: Graham Lauridsen
Three chicks who have been residents at Garners Beach Cassowary Recovery Facility during 2015 were released back into the wild in late November. Small tracking devices have been attached to the young birds. Dr Hamish Campbell and Dr Graham Lauridsen will be running a three year tracking project to see where the birds roam and how long they survive. The tracking devices are small, placed on the back of the cassowary’s neck, and the batteries last between three and five years. The birds will be tracked from a transceiver located in the bush near the release site in Hull River National Park south of the river. The transceiver has a range of about five kilometres. Local residents will also be on the lookout any birds with the tracking devices if they travel further afield.
The tracking device attached to the back of the young cassowary’s neck Photo: Graham Lauridsen
There have also been some new arrivals at Garners Beach in the past month.
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.
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).
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.
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 →
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 →
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 →