Three chicks released from Garners Beach

One of the young birds recently released Photo: Graham Lauridsen

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

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.NewChick1

Garners Beach cassowaries

The Cassowary Recovery Facility at Garners Beach is currently home to five chicks and one adult.

Two more very young chicks have arrived in the past two weeks. One from Licuala National Park is now eating and running around quite well after ten days. Another chick arrived a few days ago from Hull Heads, found in a back yard going on dark. The owner of the property had never seen an adult cassowary on his property ever before.  The chick came into the veterinary surgery quite weak and dehydrated.  After an evening of apple, banana and supplements and a quick lesson from the veterinary nurses on how to pick up food off the ground, the chick had made an amazing recovery.  A physical exam  showed the chick to be quite bright and feisty by morning.

The young chick from Hull Heads

The young chick from Hull Heads – Photo courtesy of Graham Lauridsen

The two chicks will be kept in adjacent pens for a week or so until the quarantine period has passed and then they will be placed together so they can grow up like siblings.

Yesterday, a six-foot female cassowary was taken to the recovery facility after being hit by a car near South Mission Beach. She was assessed by local veterinarian, Dr Graham Lauridsen, and it is hoped she will make a full recovery. Fortunately, the Department of Environment and Heritage had recently made improvements to the facility so it can once again accept adult birds.

You can read more in this media release about the Queensland Government commitment of up to $50,000 for  cassowary rehabilitation to keep the Garners Beach centre running.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has put out a Cassowary Rehabilitation Expression of Interest to provide for financial sponsorship, rehabilitation services or organisational support at the Garners Beach Cassowary Recovery Facility.

The young chick from Hull Heads

The young chick from Hull Heads – Photo courtesy of Graham Lauridsen

Three new cassowary chicks at Garners Beach

Photo: Emily Judson

Photo: Emily Judson

The Garners Beach Cassowary Recovery Facility now has three chicks in care. Two of these chicks came from South Mission Beach where they had been wandering alone without any father for several days. They were brought in to the Tully Veterinary Clinic for assessment where Dr Graham Lauridsen found them to be quite emaciated, but not actually suffering from any significant issues. They were they taken to Garners Beach where they have been raised and fed since November last year.

The third chick was found on Etty Bay road after being hit by a car. It was cared for by a wildlife ranger overnight and brought to the Tully Veterinary Clinic for assessment. Radiographs revealed a fracture in the spine. Thankfully, the fracture was low down in the spine and, after several days of attentive care, the chick was also placed into care at Garners Beach.

The three cassowary chicks are prospering and hanging out together. They have been weighed, microchipped and wormed. The chicks will stay at Garners Beach for the rest of the year and will be released back into the wild once they are big and strong enough to look after themselves. Researchers hope to track the chicks after their release using GPS technology to see where they move to and how they survive the vulnerable young adult phase of their lives.

Many thanks to Rainforest Rescue which continues to provide funding for the care of the cassowary chicks and operates the recovery facility under an agreement with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. Money raised through the Save the Cassowary campaign goes to help keep the recovery facility working.

Photo: Emily Judson

Photo: Emily Judson

Photo: Graham Lauridsen

Photo: Graham Lauridsen

Cassowaries get their kicks on Lot 66

Opening of Lot 66 Mission Beach (photo Jeff Larson)

Peter Trott, Hon Peter Garrett MP, Leonard Andy, Peter Rowles and Dr Helen Larson celebrate the purchase of Lot 66 (photo Jeff Larson).

Thanks to the efforts on local conservationists at Mission Beach, cassowaries can now enjoy wandering through a 25ha block near Wongaling Beach safe in the knowledge that it is protected as a part of a local wildlife corridor.

The Community for Coastal and Cassowary Conservation (C4) and the Queensland Trust for Nature (QTFN) have worked together to purchase the property known as Lot 66, a popular area of  cassowary  habitat. Together with the adjacent Lot 802 which the local council has designated a wildlife corridor to be managed by the the Djiru Warangburra Aboriginal Corporation, Lot 66 forms part of an important wildlife corridor from the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area to the coast.

Lot 66 will be surveyed, its condition improved  and a suitable house site designated before it is resold as a Nature Refuge.

You can read all the details of how Lot 66 was purchased on the C4 webpage and in the link to the special bulletin about Lot 66.

Senator Peter Garrett at the opening of Lot 66 (photo Jeff Larson)

Hon Peter Garrett MP at the opening of Lot 66 (photo Jeff Larson)


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!