Save the Cassowary from Extinction in Australia

by Rainforest Rescue
Vetted
School children showcasing Cassowary habitat
School children showcasing Cassowary habitat

World Cassowary Day is set to be bigger and louder than ever this year with not only the Rainforest Rescue team, but the entire Daintree Rainforest community, many states within Australia and the concerned global community all hosting information and events to raise funds and increase education around the endangered Southern Cassowary.

A community fun day in the Daintree itself will see many market stalls, live music, educational talks by Wet Tropics’ experts, children’s entertainment tents, Cassowary Treasure hunts, crafts, face painting and storytelling. Rainforest Rescue's Julian Gray has been invited to speak here at this local event, with business partners selling Cassowary merchandise at the markets also pledging proceeds to the 'Save the Cassowary' campaign from sales on the day.

All ages are drawn to the plight of the Cassowary and thousands of miles away from the Daintree itself, distance is proving no barrier in communicating the message of saving the endangered Southern Cassowary. Kindergarteners are joining in the spirit of World Cassowary Day by educating other school children, teachers and parents alike on facts about the Cassowary and displaying what Cassowary habitat looks like.

The contribution you have given Rainforest Rescue to date is incredibly important especially on the back of new evidence showing further support that in fact Cassowary habitat – and specifically wildlife corridors - is the main limiting factor to Cassowary population.

With only 4,000 cassowaries remaining across Australia, the greatest threat to their survival is specifically the creation of wildlife corridors to help populations move to new areas. To date you have enabled us to plant over 250,000 trees and rescued over 100 hectares of threatened Daintree rainforest in Australia, critical Cassowary habitat – Thank You so very much.

While there is a lot more habitat to save, Rainforest Rescue could not have already made such impact in the Daintree without your invaluable support.

Daintree World Cassowary Day promotion
Daintree World Cassowary Day promotion
New Nature Refuges Created to Protect Rainforest
New Nature Refuges Created to Protect Rainforest

Southern cassowary named as a priority for conservation

The southern cassowary has been added to a list of 20 birds which are identified as a priority for conservation under the Australian Threatened Species Strategy. The Australian Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, announced the addition of the southern cassowary and 15 other species to the list earlier this year. These additional 16 threatened species were identified through expert input and consultation with the scientific community.

Eleven new rainforest properties have been protected forever with Nature Refuge covenants across the Daintree lowlands.

The placement of a Nature Refuge Covenants removes all development rights from the properties, ensuring that they are protected forever. The rainforest properties are chosen for their high biodiversity value and connectivity to help create vital wildlife corridors.

The creation of wildlife corridors is vital for the future of the endangered Southern Cassowary – availability of habitat has been identified as the single most important issue impacting on Cassowary numbers. With an estimated 4,000 Cassowaries remaining we are working with the Cassowary Recovery Team to increase access to rainforest habitat for this iconic bird.

Working with the Queensland Trust for Nature three of the new Nature Refuge protected properties have been combined to create the new Milky Pine Wildlife Refuge. In addition, both the Baralba Corridor and Rainforest Rescue Nature Refuges have been significantly expanded in size.

Of the 26 rainforest properties we’ve rescued with your support, 20 have now been protected by covenants, creating five Nature Reserves. In addition, two further rainforest properties have been rescued and added to the Daintree National Park.

These actions are having a real and significant impact and wouldn’t be possible without your support.

Volunteers reforesting Cassowary Habitat
Volunteers reforesting Cassowary Habitat
Cassowary Added to Threatened Species List
Cassowary Added to Threatened Species List

Links:

Camera trap photo: cassowary attracted to red lure
Camera trap photo: cassowary attracted to red lure

Monitoring released cassowary chicks

We last reported on the release of three rehabilitated Cassowary chicks at Hudson River National Park. The birds were carrying a new technology that will enable researchers at Charles Darwin University to track them over the next few years. The tags are monitored by fixed listening stations deposited throughout the forest.

Hamish Campbell,Senior Lecturer at Charles Darwin University, reports: “The chicks were detected a week after release and all appeared to be doing fine. However, with the wet season it has not been possible to get into Hudson National Park to download the receivers. We are hoping to be able to access the receivers after the wet and check if the chicks are still in the area and are alive and well.”

Cassowary Research

We’ve published more details from Wren McLean’s research into the ecology of Cassowaries in the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest in tropical Far North Queensland. One part of Wren’s research was to use camera traps to photograph wildlife investigating brightly colored lures she set out in the forest.

“All camera traps combined provided a pool of 466 visual records from which we were able to identify 45 individual cassowaries of which 64% were adults, 18% sub-adults and 18% chicks.  Cameras provided other useful information on cassowary predators (domestic, pig-hunting and wild dogs), feral pigs and photos of three Bennetts tree kangaroos at two different locations.”

A story detailing more informationabout Wren’s research and findings is linked at the end of this report.

Thank you kindly for your support for this important project – your care and interest in our work enables Rainforest Rescue to operate these projects to help save the Endangered Southern Cassowary! Your support is having significant impact, assisting us to make great progress in securing a bio-diverse future for this unique species and its native rainforest habitat in Australia.

All this would not be possible without your generous support. Thank you!

Camera trap photo: cassowary at Baralba Reserve
Camera trap photo: cassowary at Baralba Reserve

Links:

Rainforest fruit being collected for the nursery
Rainforest fruit being collected for the nursery

Thank you for your support in helping us save the endangered Southern Cassowary.

It’s been a busy time over the past three months at the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre. The three orphaned chicks that we’ve been looking after for the past year were fit and healthy enough to release back into the rainforest a few weeks ago. The three birds were released in National Park south of the Garners Beach.

The main care-giver assisting at the Garner’s Beach Centre is Emily, who works hard to ensure that every day the birds have all they need. Just prior to their release Emily sent through the following: “All birds at the facility are doing very well. The three juveniles are in good spirits and are still awaiting their release. The two little ones are doing very well; the vet came I think it was last week to give them a routine check up and was pleased with their progress... they are increasingly eating more and more and get along extremely well.”

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 Hull River. The transceiver has a range of about five kilometers. Local residents will also be on the lookout any birds with the tracking devices if they travel further afield.

Daintree Cassowary Research

Wren McLean has been undertaking research into the ecology Cassowaries in the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest. We helped support the research by supplying trap cameras which take photos when creatures pass in front of the lens. Her research surveyed 31 sites for signs of cassowaries, used attractants to lure cassowaries to camera traps, and analysed the lowland fruit species eaten by cassowaries, particularly in the lean season.

Wren found signs of cassowaries at 94% of sites surveyed which is great news. Wrens research identified the main rainforest fruit species eaten by Cassowaries. Eighteen major fruiting species were identified and five of these fruit species represented 87% of the biomass consumed by Daintree Cassowaries: Blue Quandang, Kuranda Satinash, Cassowary Plum, Beilschmieda and Cassowary Satinash. The good news is that we’re growing all the identified species in our native nursery in the Daintree and planting them in our reforestation work. So we’re ensuring a good food supply for the Daintree Cassowaries in the future.

Thank you kindly for your support for this important project – your care and interest in our work enables Rainforest Rescue to operate these projects to help save the Endangered Southern Cassowary! Your support is having significant impact, assisting us to make great progress in securing a bio-diverse future for this unique species and its native rainforest habitat in Australia.

All this would not be possible without your generous support. Thank you!

Native seedlings: future Cassowary food supply
Native seedlings: future Cassowary food supply

Links:

Juvenile cassowaries - Garner
Juvenile cassowaries - Garner's Beach Centre

Your donations have been helping to feed, care for and rehabilitate three orphaned Endangered Southern Cassowary chicks in Far Northern Queensland. Thank you!

As we reported earlier this year, as part of our work in saving the Endangered Southern Cassowary from extinction, in late in 2014 Rainforest Rescue began helping care for three orphaned Endangered Southern Cassowary chicks as part of our work at the Garner’s Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre in Mission Beach, Far North Queensland, Australia. Thanks to all your support, these three beautiful cassowary chicks are now healthy once again and are growing very fast! We are delighted to provide for you today this the latest update on these three spritely, lovely cassowaries!

The main care-giver assisting at the Garner’s Beach Centre is Emily, who works hard to ensure that every day the birds have all they need. Here is Emily with a first hand report this month:

“All three birds are doing very well, they are constantly playing and are now eating (so much) fruit! They are comfortably getting through (about) 9 – 12 litres (buckets) of fruit foods each a day – plus their weekly dose of chicken necks and dog biscuits.”

As we reported earlier, the food and care for the three birds is carefully prescribed from expert advice received from wildlife veterinarians who are experienced in specialty care for cassowaries. Care is taken to ensure that the diet the cassowaries are provided closely matches both what they find in the rainforests, as well as being what they require as essential nutrition to help them develop soundly and grow healthy.

With the weather heating up again in Far North Queensland at this time of year, the Centre’s grounds need to be kept cool for the birds. Measures are taken to try and closely resemble the birds’ natural surroundings; the type of conditions they would find themselves in throughout the natural rainforest of the region. Emily said:

“The climate here has changed yet again, …we are having hot days now and the humidity is rapidly increasing… this means the ponds in the grounds are filled and the cassowaries are very much enjoying the two ponds – and the sprinklers I put on - …to frolic and play in.”


As you can see in the photos, the three chicks are actually no longer really just ‘chicks’! They are now considered to be of juvenile age and as they are growing, their feathers are changing to be longer and more defined, and their legs are taller and stronger – as is their appetite! Each of the birds are standing rather tall now, and they are more and more beginning to resemble mannerisms and the look of majestic adult cassowaries!


This is all great news as this indicates all three birds are fit and healthy and as the days pass, they are growing big enough to begin being considered for release back into their rainforest habitat!


Rainforest Rescue was also fortunate enough to meet some of the Global Giving community members earlier this year, in August. We were delighted to have the opportunity to host Alex and Amanda from Global Giving as they toured around Australia. Alex and Amanda were able to meet Emily at Garner’s Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre and briefly get a glimpse of the three cassowaries in care. Here we have a great photograph to share with you straight from Alex’s camera - one of the three happy birds - up close and personal!

Thank you kindly for your support for this important project – your care and interest in our work enables Rainforest Rescue to operate these projects to help save the Endangered Southern Cassowary! Your support is having significant impact, assisting us to make great progress in securing a bio-diverse future for this unique species and its native rainforest habitat in Australia.

All this would not be possible without your generous support. Thank you!

Photo taken by Alex from Global Giving
Photo taken by Alex from Global Giving
The three cassowaries - September 2015
The three cassowaries - September 2015
 

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Organization Information

Rainforest Rescue

Location: MULLUMBIMBY, NSW - Australia
Website: http:/​/​www.rainforestrescue.org.au
Project Leader:
Kaley Morrissey
Donor Care Executive
MULLUMBIMBY, NSW Australia
$21,392 raised of $80,000 goal
 
281 donations
$58,608 to go
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