The Plight of the Cassowary

March 10, 2012

Our male Cassowary, a long-standing resident at Cassowary House, suffered a very nasty cut on his heel recently. It caused him a lot of discomfort and made local residents very concerned about his well being but thankfully, seems to be healing well with no long term ill effects. 

Cassowaries have it very hard recently, what with cyclones ripping through their forests and the constant threat of car accidents and dog attacks. Their one of our most beautiful and charismatic birds. Despite being infamous as 'the most dangerous birds in the world', we've lived with them for years. They feed their chicks in the garden and although we are cautious to keep guests away from dad when he's looking after chicks, we're living proof that humans and Cassowaries can survive side by side. We're regularly visited most days.

Our Cassowaries are important birds. She's a lovely approachable lady of the forest and although he can be quite irritable, it's probably for good reason. He's bred every year since 1998 and in most years has raised three chicks to independence. Nevertheless, in 2008, 2009 and last year, the chicks didn't survive ...


We found out on Sat March 10 that there was a report of a male Cassowary with a damaged leg. He was first seen in this state, still with his two chicks, down amongst the houses nearer the main road, where he quite often visits (and where the two chicks from 2011 were killed by an uncontrolled and hastily relocated dog in July 2011, as we learned not too long ago).

This was very worrying. Reports said his leg was swollen, and we did not see him at all on Sunday, when we had intermittent heavy rain all day. On the morning of Mar 12 he came in with the two 5 month babies, limping and with a nasty gash along the heel of his left leg. This has been sprayed with Betadine and did not look too swollen that day. It was a deep gash some 20cm long but not bleeding and looked like he had hit some glass or sharp metal.

He has been coming here for getting on for 30 years and has a very good chick rearing rate, with the current two (out of 5 originally) due to be with him for another 4 months or so. Now two weeks later we are happy to report that no infection set in and Queensland Pars and Wildlife Services (QPWS) who had been pondering about bringing him an antibiotic filled rat to help stop infection occurring (and perhaps avoid the sad fate of the famous Lake Barrine male years back, which got its foot run over and was left untreated, then had to be put down), did not need to do so.  Although there is a rather ugly flap of skin on his heel the actual cut has healed over nicely, he no longer limps and the prognosis is good.

Locations visited

Cassowary House

Wildlife

Land Birds 1 species
Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) 1

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Sicklebill Safaris


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