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Jul 26, 2017

A Cassowary tale

Photo: Madeleine Faught
Photo: Madeleine Faught

Male Cassowaries are very hardworking fathers. They have to be. After the female lays her eggs, the male becomes the dutiful and long devoted parent because she departs, leaving him to incubate and raise the chicks. With an incubation period of around 50 days, the dutiful male remains on the nest so can lose more than a third of his body weight. He needs to be vigilant as left unattended, the 3 - 8 large (4 x 6 inch) and vividly coloured eggs would be an obvious and irresistible invitation to predators.

Once hatched, the young chicks share many of the same qualities as other young creatures – they are curious, active, and have much to learn. Following their father’s example, they quickly begin to forage amongst the rainforest leaf litter for fruit. Cassowaries are predominately frugivorous, but if they are not finding enough of their favoured food they will supplement their diet with fungi, fish, mice and even road kill carrion.

The chicks may stay with their dads for anywhere from nine months to more than a year. This depends on when the adult male decides to chase them away to find and establish their own territories and food sources.

Their natural curiosity can get the young Cassowaries into trouble. Certainly this is true when they venture onto the road and into the path of oncoming traffic. When habitat destruction affects their access to food, they may be forced to cross roads, with vehicles remaining the biggest threat to both adult and young Cassowaries

Rainforest Rescue is committed to expanding and securing continuous and safe habitat for the Cassowary, in both our conservation and restoration work. The greater the land area that is protected for this endangered species, the greater their food sources and chances of survival.

We love seeing the presence of Cassowaries on land that we have saved or restored with your help. These now protected rainforest areas are rich with wildlife, and if a person is very fortunate, they just might get ‘up close and personal’ with a curious young Cassowary. Check out the entertaining recent video linked below:

Rainforest Rescue completely restored this 70 acre lot, and it’s now part of this Cassowary family’s territory. This curious youngster is probably wondering what these other two legged creatures are doing on its home turf!

Your contribution will help us to protect and secure a positive future for the Cassowary and the rainforest! Thank you!

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Jul 24, 2017

Returning Cassowaries

Volunteer Bruce after planting 150 trees
Volunteer Bruce after planting 150 trees

New visitors to Lot 46

In May, we held a community tree planting day at the Daintree Nightwings site. By 11am we had planted 2,000 trees – an amazing result. Special mention needs to be made of our oldest Volunteer Bruce, who planted 150 trees in three hours!

In the afternoon, the tree planting group went on a tour of the Rainforest Rescue nursery and Lot 46 with our Land Manager Joe Reichl, Ranger Basil Byrne and Scientific Advisor Dr. Robert Kooyman. Robert led a tour of the property showing how the revegetation was undertaken and how quickly a canopy is formed using the dense planting technique developed for the site. A short video is linked showing Robert at the community Native Nursery where all the trees are grown for reforesting Lot 46.

Everyone got a special thank you for their tree planting efforts when an adult male Cassowary and his three chicks joined the tour. The sighting of Cassowaries back on the property is a great sign that the reforestation work is getting rewards.

Turning rubbish into a rainforest protector.

Our prototype recycled rubber bollards mentioned in the last report have been transported up to the Daintree. The bollards were manufactured from 100% recycled rubber using no chemicals in the recycling or re-manufacturing process, relying on pressure to vulcanise the rubber crumb. Seven of the bollards have just been installed on a forest road in the Daintree which we are planting back to rainforest.


As a reminder, we were catalysed into action when some vandals illegally drove over newly planted trees at Lot 46. A barrier was needed to stop vehicles from driving onto the land. However, all the commercial products were too urban for a rainforest setting. Having already removed dumped tyres from the land, we wanted to re-using tyres to stop people from driving into the rainforest.

All we have to do now is watch the trees grow on the track behind the bollards. Once they’re big enough to stop vehicles driving into the rainforest we can dig the bollards out and re-use on a new site.

Tree planting crew at Lot 46
Tree planting crew at Lot 46
Cassowary at Lot 46
Cassowary at Lot 46

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Jun 13, 2017

Cassowaries Proof of Connected Corridors

Community Tree Planting May 2017
Community Tree Planting May 2017

The last few months have marked one of Rainforest Rescue’s busiest periods to date. We have welcomed a new Daintree Ranger, Basil Byrne, to help Joe and the many volunteers keep the Rainforest Rescue Native Nursery powering at its strongest.

As a result of this increased on the ground activity, ten’s of thousands of rainforest seedlings have now been grown and continually cared for at the Nursery. Add to that over 5,000 seedling holes dug by the team on properties in urgent need of restoration.

All of this preparation came in anticipation of the annual ‘Plant a Rainforest’ weekend. Over 50 volunteers from around the nation and as far ashore as the United States, came together to fill 2,000 of these holes with Nursery propagated rainforest trees. By planting the trees, safe cassowary and wildlife corridors on these properties are built.

In less than two hours the job was complete. It was then over to Basil, Joe and the team to fill in the balance of holes in the coming days.

While the end result of 2,000 trees in the ground was incredibly satisfying to all, perhaps the most telling sign that the hard work was well worth the effort came from the Cassowary itself.

Rainforest Rescue’s ‘jewel in the crown’ reforestation project on Lot 46, Cape Tribulation Rd is a global example of restoration at its best, with over 50,000 trees planted since 2010. After the planting, volunteers joined a tour of Lot 46 guided by our Daintree Land Managers, and Scientific Advisor Dr. Robert Kooyman.

The group became larger as a Cassowary father and his three chicks wandered onto Lot 46. The immediate proof our work is creating safe wildlife corridors through rescuing, then restoring land, was so striking that supporters’ tears of joy were shed.

To all our GlobalGiving Supporters, in lieu of being present on this significant day, we bring you this story and a strong message of thanks.

You and fellow rainforest rescuers are rescuing and restoring strategic rainforest properties to create wildlife corridors and stop fragmentation of the unique and ancient lowland Daintree forest.

This wouldn’t be possible without your support. On behalf of all at Rainforest Rescue, and the endangered Southern Cassowary – Thank You.

Cassowary Father with his chick
Cassowary Father with his chick
Nightwings Restoration Project
Nightwings Restoration Project

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