Save the Cassowary

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Cassowary

The endangered Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii) is found only in the tropical rainforests of Far North Queensland. The Cassowary is known as a "keystone" species, crucial for the preservation of rainforest diversity because of the role it plays as a major seed disperser.

Cassowaries disperse seeds for up to 150 rainforest plant species, some too large, the rest too poisonous to be dispersed by other animals. Therefore the preservation of this species is vital for maintaining the diversity of Queensland's Far North, World Heritage Valued rainforests. (Latch 2007)

It is unknown how many cassowaries remain in the wild, however estimates suggest that it could be as few as 1000.

The cassowary has a slow reproduction cycle where the chicks are dependent on their father for up to 18 months after hatching, making the remaining populations very vulnerable to disturbances. If an adult male with chicks is struck by a car or dies from other causes, his dependant chicks will also perish.

The number one threat to the cassowary is habitat fragmentation for residential development in the Daintree Lowland Rainforest and at Mission Beach. This continues despite their dwindling numbers, pushing them closer to extinction day by day.


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