Home' Nova National : August 2010 Contents novamagazine.com.au
© NOVA AUGUST 2010
Tocatch a glimpse of certain animals
in the wild as they go about their
quiet way hidden as far as possible
from prying human eyes must send
a thrill up the spine. A snow leopard high in
the Himalayas, an orang utan in deep jungle,
a platypus in a crystal flowing stream.... such
experiences are denied all but the luckiest of
us except on TV documentaries.
The Cassowary, too, fits that rare
and precious category, particularly with
the unwelcome news that the Southern
Cassowary is now so endangered that it is
perched on the edge of extinction. According
to the Rainforest Information Centre, there
are now perhaps as few as 1000 remaining
in the tropical rainforests of Far North
Launching a nationwide Save the
Cassowary campaign, Centre director Ruth
Rosenhek, described the Cassowary, the
world’s third largest bird as “a keystone
species, crucial for the preservation of
“If they go, so too will many of the
rainforest trees that depend on them for their
survival. The ancient Wet Tropics in Far North
Queensland rely on these flightless birds to
disperse and germinate seeds of at least 80
rainforest trees and another 70 plants.”
The primary threats to the Cassowary
are loss of habitat and road kill associated
with development. The increase of traffic
through Cassowary habitat has resulted in
four adult cassowaries being killed on roads
near Mission Beach in the last seven months.
Dog attack and obstacles to free
movement in the landscape such as fences
are also major threats being introduced by
“At Mission Beach, subdivisions are
creating more than 1000 new residential
blocks and in the Daintree, 185 rainforest
properties are zoned for development,”
says Rosenhek. “Clearing and development
of these properties would cut off essential
wildlife corridors and severely fragment
prime Cassowary habitat.”
In 2008, Peter Garrett halted an
inappropriate development at Mission
Beach, now known as ‘Garrett’s Corridor’.
“The Minister found the development
proposal to be clearly unacceptable under
the EPBC Act because of the impact it would
have on the endangered Cassowary.
“This was a positive step in the right
direction, however there’s a lot more work
to do to save this species in Australia. We’re
urging Environment Minister Peter Garrett
to commit $60 million for a final buyback of
prime Cassowary habitat land in the Daintree
and for buyback, landowner incentives and
management of Cassowary habitat in Mission
Already 2500 submissions have been
received at the group’s website www.
savethecassowary.org.au, asking Minister
Garrett to take action on this very important
issue and a growing list of organisations have
endorsed the campaign including Friends
of the Earth, Australians for Animals,
the Humane Society International, The
Community for Coastal and Cassowary
Conservation (C4), Kuranda EnviroCare
Inc. and Zoos Victoria.
“Cassowaries have a reputation for being
dangerous to people and domestic animals.”
says Rosenhek. “However, it is us humans
who are imperiling this beautiful bird and
their forest homes; the fate of the Southern
Cassowary in Far North Queensland rests
in our hands.”
For more information, visit
phone (02) 6689 7519.
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