Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia

 
$18,042
$61,958
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Chicks in care are growing larger by the day
Chicks in care are growing larger by the day

It has now been four months since three cassowary chicks came into our care at the Cassowary Rehabilitation centre.

The chicks are rapidly growing and now eat around the equivalent of a two gallon bucket of fruit twice a day! Their food intact has nearly doubled in three months.

Fortunately your generous donations have enabled us to purchase a fridge which means we can now buy food in bulk – leading to considerable saving. Thank you.

Our carer Emily has said:

“I just wanted to let you know that the fridge is working wonderfully. I am now able to buy the fruit in bulk which is going to save a good deal of money.

I have worked it out and calculated that I am saving roughly $50 - $70 dollars a week so far on fruit, buying it in bulk rather than in loose quantities each day. Imagine how much I’ll save when the chicks are larger!”

Emily’s resourcefulness has also lead to other savings – she has now secured fgive-away not-quite perfect bananas from a local grower.

After a recent vet check-in we are also adding high quality dog biscuits into their food to provide a higher quality protein source.

After his visit Graham the vet, reported “They are all very bright and alert, doing very usual cassowary behaviour.

“One is growing faster than its sibling so we believe it might be a female. I will be able to confirm this at my next check up”.

Thank you for support in helping us care for these chicks. The southern cassowary is endangered in Australia and its distribution is limited to two small pockets of far north Queensland in the Wet Tropics. We are doing everything we can to increase the cassowary’s chance of survival.

a rare photo - all three chicks standing still
a rare photo - all three chicks standing still
the siblings
the siblings
two of the cassowary chicks in care
two of the cassowary chicks in care

Rainforest Rescue is currently caring for three orphan cassowary chicks are in care at our Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Recovery Centre at Mission Beach, Far North Queensland, Australia.

Two of the chicks have been in care since 11 October when they were found wandering down a road in south Mission Beach without their father. It is believed he was killed in a dog attack.

The third chick came into care on 16 November when it was approx. one month old after being struck by a vehicle. The chick was initially unable to walk, and was found to have a fractured tailbone. Under the care of Environmental Protection rangers and the Tully Vets its condition improved steadily and it is now able to walk, and has been transferred to the Centre for ongoing care.

All three chicks are steadily improving and their appetite is growing daily! It is expected they will be in care at the Centre for approximately 12 months before they can be returned to the wild.

These chicks represent the future of the endangered southern cassowary population.

All costs associated with raring and rehabilitating these chicks (and all birds taken into care at the Centre) is funded by Rainforest Rescue – this includes food, vet bills, carer costs and the Centre’s maintenance.

It costs $36 to feed and care for one orphaned cassowary for one day. Please support the rehabilitation of these chicks so they can return to the wild.

looking for his puppa
looking for his puppa
Cassowary carer
Cassowary carer
Cassowary enclosure for when the chicks have grown
Cassowary enclosure for when the chicks have grown
Before weeds are removed
Before weeds are removed

Locals couldn’t remember the last time Wongaling Creek flowed, but in collaboration with Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, we’ve completed the Wongaling Wetland Cassowary Corridor restoration project and the creek is now flowing again!

The Djiru Native Title Land at Mission Beach was choked with water weeds, guinea grass, lantana and Singapore daisy, and surrounded by urbanisation and development. The land was prioritised for restoration after it was identified as key cassowary habitat by the Traditional Owners.

The project also employed and trained Djiru Traditional Owners, many of whom had been displaced by Mission Beach’s rapid development and soaring property prices.

“The Girringun nursery and restoration team and the Djiru restoration team thank you for your support to help heal our country,” said Nina Dawson, Restoration Project Coordinator.

 

What we've achieved together:

  • Removal of invasive Singapore daisy that had clogged the creek and prevented native species growth
  • 1,500 Cassowary rainforest trees planted
  • Seed collection of cassowary food trees to be grown in the Girringun nursery
  • Training of Djiru people – plant identification, seed collection and restoration and propagation techniques
  • Wongaling Creek flowing again
Site 1 after weed removal
Site 1 after weed removal
Dijiru and Girringun crew
Dijiru and Girringun crew
Cassowaries in the Daintree (C) Martin Stringer
Cassowaries in the Daintree (C) Martin Stringer

Since its launch on 17 March 2014, the new Save the Cassowary campaign has gone from strength to strength.

Media coverage of the launch spread the message to almost FOUR million Australians. Our 19 partner zoos are displaying interpretive signage at their Cassowary enclosures to raise awareness. Some partners have already raised thousands of dollars to help the cause. Rainforest Rescue's Director of Conservation and Partnerships Jennifer Croes, addressed the Zoo and Aquarium Association Annual Conference in Auckland New Zealand where news of the campaign attracted interest and support from conservationists around the globe including Europe and the USA.

Another important step has been the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Girrigun Aboriginal Corporation, which will see their members actively involved in rainforest regeneration on their native lands to improve Cassowary habitat. Local aboriginal people will also be involved in caring for sick, injured and orphaned Cassowaries at the Garner's Beach rehabilitation centre in response to accidents and adverse weather events.

Cassowary sightings in North Queensland are increasing, and while this gives us hope that the population is strong, it is often on the roadsides and a sign that their natural habitat is becoming more fragmented, so they need to come nearer and nearer to human populations... one of the biggest threats to their wellbeing.

On 14 and 15 June, the Rainforest Rescue team was joined by more than 50 volunteers - who came from near and farto plant 4,000 trees on three of Rainforest Rescue's properties. The land had been cleared of many tonnes of rubbish and debris (including concrete slabs and old car tires) and the holes had been dug in advance. The seedlings were raised in Rainforest Rescue's own nursery from seeds collected during the last year. Although the weather was unseasonally wet (June is usually the dry season in the Wet Tropics) and the events were muddy, the work was completed and the team had a great sense of accomplishment in creating more habitat for the Southern Cassowary and other native wildlife.

The new plants will be tended carefully for two to three years until the canopy closes over, which will help to control the weeds. Of course, all this requires resources, both human and financial and your support in helping to conserve this keystone species is greatly appreciated. Thank-you to all our Global Giving donors who - despite great distances in some cases - continue to support our work.

Daintree Tree Planting 2014 (c) Martin Stringer
Daintree Tree Planting 2014 (c) Martin Stringer
Seedlings in the nursery (c) Martin Stringer
Seedlings in the nursery (c) Martin Stringer
Volunteers at work (c) Martin Stringer
Volunteers at work (c) Martin Stringer
The Girringun mob (c) Martin Stringer
The Girringun mob (c) Martin Stringer

Links:

Jennifer Croes prepares for live TV cross
Jennifer Croes prepares for live TV cross

The Southern Cassowary is endemic to Australia’s Wet Tropics region in Far North Queensland and a keystone species, whose loss would impact other species and the ecosystem. The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is listed as the second most ‘irreplaceable natural World Heritage Area’ on earth. Many species such as the Southern Cassowary, the Mahogany Glider and Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo are found there.

Current estimates fear fewer than 1,000 birds are left in the wild. Rapid residential and commercial development has eliminated much of its habitat. Little known to most people, this living dinosaur evolved millions of years ago and is vital to the rainforest’s ecological functionality. It disperses the seeds of more than 180 rainforest plant species.

At WILDLIFE Sydney Zoo on 17 March 2014, Rainforest Rescue launched a new iteration of its Save the Cassowary campaign in collaboration with 19 Australian zoos, government departments and business partners to urgently highlight the future of the endangered ‘Rainforest Gardener’, the Southern Cassowary. The event included a live cross to local breakfast TV show ‘Wake Up’, from inside the cassowary enclosure.

Launching the campaign, Rainforest Rescue’s Conservation Director Jennifer Croes announced a new partnership with Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, describing it as “bridging the conservation gap by incorporating Traditional Owner knowledge and values to long-term conservation solutions.”

Chris Hibbard from the Zoo Aquarium Association (Australiasia) spoke of the need to put the dwindling numbers of Cassowaries in the spotlight as “by comparison, they are actually fewer in number than the Giant Panda, of which there is great awareness and support for its survival around the globe”.

Will Meikle from WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo spoke of the role zoos play in helping to bring Endangered species to the public’s attention, before joining Jennifer and Chris to unveil the newly created signage that will be displayed in 19 partner zoos nationwide from early April.

While the species focus of the campaign may seem like a departure from Rainforest Rescue’s traditional preservation and restoration activities, this magnificent keystone species is a ‘rainforest ambassador’. If we don’t protect its rainforest habitat, there will be no Cassowaries and vice versa, for without the unique role the Cassowary plays in dispersing more than 180 rainforest seeds, the very future of the rainforest will be compromised.

A new website has been created especially for the campaign. In addition to a wealth of information about the Southern Cassowary and the threats it currently faces, it also provides information about Rainforest Rescue’s conservation projects and how you can help, which will be regularly updated via news articles. See more at: www.savethecassowary.org.au  

Rainforest Rescue and our partners invite you to help save this ‘living dinosaur’ by getting to know the Cassowary, understand its vital importance in nature and support Rainforest Rescue’s cassowary conservation initiatives including habitat protection through land buy-back; restoration of vital habitat and corridors; Garners Beach Cassowary rehabilitation centre; and the undertaking of further scientific research.

Speakers at the campaign launch
Speakers at the campaign launch
New art cup from business partner BioPak
New art cup from business partner BioPak

Links:

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Organization

Project Leader

Monique Ryan

MULLUMBIMBY, NSW Australia

Where is this project located?

Map of Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia