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Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia

by Rainforest Rescue
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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
A Cassowary Chick
A Cassowary Chick

Rainforest Rescue’s Daintree Manager and volunteers continue to see southern cassowaries and their chicks north of the Daintree River, near Rainforest Rescue already protected land. Frequency of sightings reassures the whole team that the cassowary population numbers are healthy and growing, especially seeing cassowary offspring. Your support in helping us rescue, and restore, the habitat of these incredibly important endangered cassowaries is really paying off – for the rainforest, and the Earth.

Further great news for the Daintree’s cassowaries is that we are almost at our goal to buy back and protect forever our latest appeal property - Lot 27 Cape Tribulation Rd!

Amongst other precious, vulnerable, rare and endangered flora and fauna – the Southern Cassowary too calls this rainforest property home. This land was at the highest threat - in the midst of our appeal another buyer appeared and risked starting a bidding war which would be disastrous for the Daintree and conservation efforts. We managed to broker a deal with the owner to take our bid at asking – even though the rival was willing to go significantly higher. Fortunately, the owner chose to protect this land and go with Rainforest Rescue, even though it meant less money in their pocket. This means that all the rainforest animals that find themselves on Lot 27 will soon be safe and protected forever.

Cassowary droppings on Lot 27 show this is a regular path on the Cassowary’s foraging journeys through this habitat. Known as the ‘rainforest gardener’, the cassowary is able to swallow seeds that are too large (and toxic) for other animals – and then when they ‘poop’ the seeds out – they are then safe and in a small enough size for the other animals to eat!

The cassowary ‘poop’ also grows trees! It is full of lots of seeds so this too helps to strongly build a rainforest.

Thank YOU for helping us support the Southern Cassowaries and their offspring, to grow up in the safest habitat possible in the Daintree rainforest. They are safer because of YOU!

Cassowary 'poop'
Cassowary 'poop'
Beautiful Lot 27 - about to be rescued!
Beautiful Lot 27 - about to be rescued!
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A Southern Cassowary
A Southern Cassowary

In 2015 Rainforest Rescue was approached by land-owner Annie S. to return fifteen hectares of old sugarcane fields back to thriving Daintree lowland rainforest. This is now known as the Nightwings Project.

In 2016 and 2017 with the help of many individuals, organisations and businesses, like YOU - we cultivated and started planting trees and revived a wetland area to draw in wildlife. Between 2018 and 2019 tens of thousands of trees were planted at NightWings to repair this damaged land.

By the project’s end, these seedlings will be flourishing between the lowland Daintree to the upland Rainforest and beyond to the coast.

We were very pleased to reveal to you around seven months ago that for the first time in over forty years an endangered Southern Cassowary was spotted here near Nightwings. This is significant as sugarcane does not attract cassowaries - rainforest species do. Since this time (around seven months ago) we had not spotted a Cassowary since.

However, just last night Joe our Land Manager wrote to say that this same Cassowary was spotted once again at Nightwings!

He writes: “We think it’s the same one as before …it’s now fully mature and looks like having established its territory there. Forty years, no sighting, then after revegetation – Bingo, Christmas in November.”

Joe claims this is a sure sign that regenerates work in bringing back wildlife especially the endangered Cassowary, to rainforest now thriving, that was once devasted.

The Southern Cassowary is a ‘keystone’ species. Through eating the fruit and pooing out the seeds of rainforest plants, it plays a vital role as the ‘rainforest gardener’. Many plants depend on the cassowary for survival. Without them, the future of the rainforest is in peril.

Southern Cassowaries are shy by nature and only pose a threat to humans and domestic animals when defending their nests or chicks, if they have become accustomed to hand feeding, or when threatened.

With your help, you have joined us to save this magnificent and little understood Australian by extending its habitat and making it safe. Thanks to you the Southern Cassowaries’ population numbers are increasing.

The Nightwings Project in Mossman QLD
The Nightwings Project in Mossman QLD
Planting Trees at Nightwings
Planting Trees at Nightwings
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Image (c) Martin Stringer
Image (c) Martin Stringer

By rescuing and regenerating the unprotected Daintree lowlands, the benefits for the endangered Cassowary continue to roll in thanks to your support!

Lot 30, Cape Tribulation Rd in the Daintree rainforest WILL be rescued! We made our goal thanks to YOU and we are now moving into the process of conveyancing. You support has meant that we have just one more property left to rescue in order to fill out this whole lower Daintree’s Cape Kimberley Wildlife Corridor which is prime cassowary habitat! This also brings the tally up to 34 Rainforest Rescue protected properties –and more to come. You make this possible and continue to increase the safety for the Cassowary’s population numbers.

The crew in the Daintree are regularly encouraged by frequent Cassowary sightings and the latest visit from a Cassowary has come from our new Nursery Manager, Marine (as pictured)!

Marine looks after the Rainforest Rescue Native Seed Nursery and at the moment she is tenderly caring for 139 different rainforest species and 10,000 seedlings! Many of which are important  food sources for the Cassowary.

Marine says: “I saw a Cassowary not long ago just wandering around the Nursery!” The propagation of seedlings, to then be planted to restore damaged rainforest, is incredibly important to bring back and secure the Cassowary’s habitat.

Here is a video from our Tree Planting this year, where over 100 volunteers helped to regenerate a stripped sugar cane field, south of the Daintree river, where a Cassowary had been seen recently for the first time in over forty years – proof YOUR support is expanding and protecting the Cassowary’s vital habitat.

Thank you so very, very much – the Cassowary continues to benefit strongly from your ongoing support.

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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
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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.

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Rainforest Rescue

Location: MULLUMBIMBY, NSW - Australia
Website:
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Project Leader:
Branden Barber
MULLUMBIMBY, NSW Australia
$26,229 raised of $80,000 goal
 
430 donations
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