Close encounter with Cassowary | Mirage News
The Department of Environment and Science (DES) is urging people not to feed cassowaries following a close encounter between hikers in the bush and a large bird on the Atherton Highlands.
Senior Wildlife Officer Dinouk Perera said video taken in May showed the cassowary following four hikers through the bush for seven minutes along a walking track near Windin Falls in Wooroonooran National Park .
“The video shows the bird often approaching within three feet of the group of bush walkers as they retreated along the trail,” Perera said.
“Wildlife officers have confirmed that the cassowary’s behavior indicates that it has become accustomed to being fed by people.”
“An unaccustomed cassowary would never approach the bush walkers and would have retreated into the forest to avoid such an encounter.
“It was a disturbing incident for the hikers and they did the right thing by staying calm and walking away until the cassowary realized he was not going to be fed.
“Cassowaries are unpredictable and potentially dangerous animals and habituated birds are known to act aggressively and run wild if they are not given food when confronting people in the forest.
“Feeding cassowaries can drastically change their behavior so that other people are at risk of being approached and potentially attacked by birds.
Mr Perera said wildlife officers last week dropped off a residents’ mailbox near the Windin Falls parking lot, urging them not to feed the cassowaries and warning them of the dangers of it. make.
People need to understand that male cassowaries teach their chicks to find natural food in the forest and that if the male is fed by humans, his chicks will learn to approach people for food, ”he said.
“The maximum penalty for deliberately feeding a cassowary is $ 5,222, and we ask people to report deliberate cassowary feeding by calling 1,300,130,372.
“We also investigated recent reports that the people of Kuranda were giving cut fruit to cassowaries and urging them to stay in residential areas.
Chopped fruits, such as bananas and apples, are totally unsuitable foods for cassowaries.
“Cassowaries are classified as endangered in the humid tropics and any time a bird is deliberately fed by humans, they become more vulnerable to impact from vehicles or attack from dogs.
“Forty-six cassowaries have been killed or injured by vehicle strikes over the past two years near Kuranda and Mission Beach, and wildlife officers believe that many of these cassowaries had been habituated by people who had caught them. deliberately fed.
“The most recent Cassowary Road strike in far north Queensland occurred at Millaa Millaa this morning and unfortunately this animal had to be euthanized.
Cassowary sightings should be reported to DES by calling 1300 130 372.