Apply to Join

Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia

by Rainforest Rescue
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia
Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia

Earlier this month, during a tour of Lot 46 Cape Tribulation Rd, a 27-hectare (67 acre) property in the Daintree lowland rainforest that is now reclaimed and restored, we were lucky enough to stumble across some Cassowary Plums (Cerbera floribunda). Dr Robert Kooyman, Rainforest Rescue’s Scientific Advisor, led the tour and took the opportunity to educate the group about this amazing fruit & its relationship with the cassowary. Here's a short snippet of this video with Dr Kooyman:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx8cRdiDbrj/?igshid=1w1s6e5zp825x

Dr Kooyman went on to say that the cassowary’s role in dispersing fruits and, in particular, large fruits is significant as a major propagator in the rainforest. He also shared that in regards to the Daintree rainforest’s population of cassowaries, this area of Australia is ‘…one of the only areas where their population has increased.’

In fact, as we reported to you in our prior communication, for the first time in over forty years our Land Manager also saw a southern cassowary south of the Daintree river and near the NightWings property where we have – with your support – planted almost 70,000 trees back into Nature. Sightings normally of cassowaries are only found north of the River!

NightWings Rainforest is the ambitious project of re-establishing an ecosystem where there had once been rainforest. Over the last 60 years this land has been destroyed by farming and now we are recreating a functional and resilient natural ecosystem for the future. This was the site for the nearly 100 volunteers that came to help us plant close to 3,000 trees to restore this degraded rainforest. 

It’s really coming along beautifully – and now, our huge restoration work south of the Daintree river is also benefitting cassowary populations. We couldn’t do this without all of you. Thank you so much!

Volunteer Planting a Tree
Volunteer Planting a Tree

Southern cassowaries are known for their distinctive casque – the hard bump that protrudes from the top of their head. The casque is one of the trademark features of the southern cassowary, yet for decades researchers have struggled to figure out the purpose of the large growth – until now.

Ground-breaking research conducting at La Trobe University in Victoria suggests that the casque is used to regulate heat and keep the beautiful birds cool during Australia’s sweltering summers. Danielle Eastick, from the university’s Department of Ecology, Environment, and Evolution, conducted a study with 20 cassowaries across Australia and discovered that the amount of heat released from the casque increases when the temperature rises. Previous research had suggested that the casque might be used as protection from dense vegetation, as a weapon to ward off other animals, or as a means of finding a mating partner, so this certainly is a ground-breaking finding! 

Cassowaries need large areas of rainforest to survive and thrive. At Rainforest Rescue, we work to rescue, restore, and conserve critical cassowary habitat to ensure that these incredible creatures can continue to live in the Daintree. We've recently spotted a cassowary on the Nightwings property, which we have been working to restore! Learn more by reading our previous report.

Thank you to all of YOU who have supported our mission to Protect Rainforests Forever and to extend the safe habitat of these critically important animals.

The Cassowary near Nightwings
The Cassowary near Nightwings

All of us at Rainforest Rescue this past week were thrilled when Joe Reichl our Daintree Ranger and Land Manager got word that for the first time in over forty years, an endangered Southern Cassowary was spotted south of the Daintree River!

Historically, all sighted cassowaries by our team have been north of the River. However, over the past few years Rainforest Rescue has worked tirelessly with partners and individual supporters to regenerate a huge piece of what was once a stripped sugar cane field (15 Hectares) on the Nightwings property. This has been restored by planting tens of thousands of seedlings and now this lowland Daintree Rainforest property is being naturally re-joined to the upland Daintree, creating safe and important wildlife corridors and habitat for Daintree wildlife such as the Southern Cassowary.

Many trees on this land are almost three metres high (nearly 10 feet) which sees them well positioned to start creating a canopy, and bringing the rainforest back to the way it was pre cultivation.

It was here that a juvenile Southern Cassowary was seen for the first time in decades – prompting Joe to acknowledge this as a huge win for restoration:

“This is proof restoration (planting trees) really works for wildlife!”

Thank you to all of YOU who have enabled us to extend the safe habitat of these critically important creatures.

Three cassowary chicks with their dad
Three cassowary chicks with their dad

The chair of Rainforest Rescue Madeleine Faught recently visited our protected and regenerated rainforest sites in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest. She was there to monitor the progress of the seedlings we have planted to regenerate degraded rainforest and the results were great!

20180511-Nightwings-00778 © Martin Stringer (web).jpg

Image (c) Martin Stringer: Seedlings looking healthy and growing well

She was very pleased to report that everything is growing beautifully and the newest planted seedlings are starting to create roots and become firmly established in the ground. The loss of trees is now less than one percent.

Whilst there Madeleine was able to witness that three particular cassowary chicks which are very familiar to Rainforest Rescuers - we last saw them when they were very young – have now reached adolescence and are looking very strong and healthy.

This is a wonderful confirmation that thanks to you supporting our work of buying back threatened cassowary habitat along with replanting at degraded cassowary habitats properties, the safety of the populations of these rainforest guardians is increasing.

There are also more and more sighting by locals and Rainforest Rescuers alike of healthy adult Southern Cassowaries crossing the main Cape Tribulation Rd deep in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest. This is also a warming indication that the whole community is coming together more and more to reduce the speed of their driving to make sure cassowaries are top of mind when travelling through this incredible natural beauty.

Thank you so very much for saving these incredibly important creatures - they are not only surviving, but thriving thanks to YOU!

Cassowary track
Cassowary track

We’re really glad that you’re interested in Cassowaries because we are extremely fond of them and understand how very important their contribution is to a healthy and biodiverse rainforest. With your generous help, we are continuing to support conservation initiatives that help the survival of this amazing bird.

 Sometimes Cassowaries attract ‘bad press’ because people are afraid of those powerful legs and feet, especially of the inside toe which has a ‘dagger-like’ claw that can be up to 5 inches in length. Their main defence is escape. However, when they need to defend themselves, the birds will use their legs and this claw to fend off predators. In defending territory from other Cassowaries, they use a deep rumbling vocalisation and a running posture to chase potential competitors entering their territories.

 Cassowaries are able to propel themselves through the sometimes tangled growth of the rainforest at up to 30 mph using those impressive feet and legs.

 The destruction or fragmentation of the Cassowary’s natural rainforest habitat has increased the dangers for the bird. These large, predominately fruit eating birds require a substantial area as their home range; this can be anything from10 acres to more than 100 acres. During times of fruit scarcity, they will range even further, and expand their diets to include protein rich insects and even small mammals. This search can also take them into contact with the road, and this is where the trouble begins, and even those powerful legs and feet do not help them escape the threats.

 Food scarcity and opportunism results in them taking advantage of ‘road kills’ of other animal species. During the extended time period that the Cassowary father is charged with providing for his young (fourteen months to two years), this road foraging behavior puts both he and the chicks at even greater risk. 

 Rainforest Rescue focuses on protecting intact primary rainforest. This forest is rich in tree species that fruit throughout the year, providing a continuous resource for the cassowary and his family. Helping us to protect these intact rainforest areas and to re-establish and restore larger areas of continuous forest will provide the Cassowary with a future.

 Together we are helping the remarkable seed dispersing Cassowary to continue its fruitful relationship with a healthy rainforest. 

Cassowary feet and legs (photo courtesy of WTMA)
Cassowary feet and legs (photo courtesy of WTMA)
Cassowary family on road (photo MFaught)
Cassowary family on road (photo MFaught)
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Rainforest Rescue

Location: MULLUMBIMBY, NSW - Australia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @rainforestrescu?lang=en
Project Leader:
Kaley Morrissey
Donor Care Executive
MULLUMBIMBY, NSW Australia
$24,433 raised of $80,000 goal
 
386 donations
$55,567 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Rainforest Rescue has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:
Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.