Cassowary and ChickAbout the Save the Cassowary campaign

Save the Cassowary has been created in a unique partnership between Rainforest Rescue and our stakeholders, which include government organisations, business partners, Aboriginal Corporations, universities and 25 zoos and other non-government organisations, to raise awareness of the plight of the Endangered Southern Cassowary.

Already on the endangered list, there are feared to be less than 1,000 of this living dinosaur – which plays a vital role in rainforest regeneration – left in the wild.

We invite you to join us to save this magnificent and little understood Australian by getting to know the Cassowary, understanding its vital importance in nature and supporting the projects which protect and ensure its future.

Why do we need a campaign?

  1. The Southern Cassowary is Endangered, there are believed to be fewer than 1,000 left in the wild. It is now under increased threat from loss of habitat due to development, cars, dog attacks and natural disasters.
  2. The Southern Cassowary is a direct descendent of the dinosaurs, it’s awesome and we’re lucky to have it here in Australia!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Campaign activities

Participating zoos will display special Save the Cassowary signs at their Cassowary enclosures to promote the campaign. Some will run special events, watch our events page for details.

Rainforest Rescue’s business partner BioPak has produced a special ‘art cup’ featuring the Southern Cassowary, which will be available Australia-wide from cafes and coffee sellers from March 2014. 20% of the profits from sales of the cup will be donated to the campaign to support Cassowary conservation.

Rainforest Rescue has launched this website savethecassowary.org.au – which contains a wealth of information about the Cassowary, the threats it faces and how everyone can do their bit to help.

The main aim of the campaign is to raise funds to support our Cassowary conservation programs in Far North Queensland, to complement the captive breeding program being undertaken by our zoo partners.

Our conservation programs include:

  1. Preserving Cassowary habitat by ‘buying-back’ land in the Wet Tropics to protect it forever
  2. Restoring Cassowary habitat and creating wildlife corridors – by planting trees on our own, and others properties
  3. Cassowary rehabilitation – working with the QLD Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) – Threatened Species Unit and the Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, to co-manage the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre located in Mission Beach.
  4. Cassowary Research – collaborate with knowledge experts, universities, research laboratories, zoos   and other institutions to contribute towards much needed research.

Current research opportunities to be considered and negotiated include;

  1. Contribute towards continuing the cassowary tracking and monitoring research
  2. Contribute to Population dynamics and monitoring
  3. Population modelling and road kill management.

 

Rainforest Rescue analysed mortality data and during the period 1992 to January 2014, 104 deaths were reported as vehicle strikes in the Wet Tropics.(2)  Utilising existing data sets obtained from managing the number of cassowary road fatalities, assess spatial and temporal patterns to identify hotspots and identify intervention strategies to mitigate this.