The Southern Cassowary has held important physical, cultural and spiritual significance for the Aboriginal peoples of Northern Queensland for many thousands of years.
The Traditional Owners understood the role the cassowary played in maintaining the rainforest – which provided food, fresh water, shelter and materials for arts and crafts, medicines and herbs.
In the modern world, it’s easy to forget the role rainforests still play in supporting and regulating many of the planet’s most critical natural processes: rainfall, absorption of carbon dioxide and combating climate change. These ‘eco-systems services’ are estimated to be worth trillions of dollars per year globally.
Today the Southern Cassowary faces serious threats from development and disease to natural disasters. The captive breeding program undertaken in zoos around the world is helping to maintain this magnificent creature for future generations, but we need to act now if we are to see the Cassowary thrive in the wild.