This guest blog is from Save the Cassowary Partner WILDLIFE Sydney Zoo recalling the part their staff played in planting 4,000 rainforest seedlings as part of a Rainforest Rescue Tree Planting event.
On 14 & 15 June 2014 three of our Zookeepers Nadine Samy, Sarah Grimmitt and Justine Ruta travelled to the Daintree Rainforest to participate in a tree planting project as part of Rainforest Rescue’s ‘Save the Cassowary’ program.
This ZAA national conservation program was launched at Wildlife Sydney Zoo’s Cassowary exhibit with Rainforest Rescue in March. Participating zoos assist through sharing the conservation message of the ‘Save the Cassowary’ campaign through consistent, educational signage at cassowary enclosures and the distribution of promotional materials supporting fundraising for cassowaries.
Merlin Entertainment’s new ‘Breed, Rescue, Protect’ mission statement aims to get Wildlife Sydney Zoo staff involved in hands on conservation projects.
“When we heard about the opportunity to plant some trees in the beautiful Daintree Rainforest of Far North Queensland, we just had to do it” said Nadine. The new Breed, Rescue, Protect project allowed the staff to travel and help out with this practical conservation project. Staff are supported in attendance through the company’s Volunteer Leave scheme.
Rainforest Rescue surveys parcels of land in the Daintree Rainforest that have been overrun by invasive plant species or damaged by human activity. If they see conservation potential in these lots (as wildlife corridors and supporting rainforest biodiversity) they raise funds to purchase it and restore it to its former glory. The staff worked on three sites of recently-acquired land.[At the Zoo] the keepers talk to guests about the magnificence of the Daintree Rainforests and the importance of conserving nature and protecting our native species as part of their daily routine. The presentations occur at our Cassowary exhibit with our male Cassowary ‘Princess’. Experiencing the Daintree Rainforest and participating in hands-on conservation projects supports the staff in their daily work and contributes to the Breed, Rescue and Protect goals of the organisation.
“On the tree planting day, we drove to the site in awe of the beauty of the Daintree Rainforest. Every time a bird called Sarah, the bird keeper in our team, would enthusiastically look up in the canopies” said Nadine.
“Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by the Rainforest Rescue team. They expressed their utmost gratitude for our travelling the furthest out of all the volunteers” said Justine. Most volunteers were from the local area.
Reflecting on the trip, the staff said they had personally gained much from the experience while contributing to the future conservation of the Southern Cassowary.