Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Endangered Cassowary

Cassowaries are endangered but there are a few left in the northeast rainforest of Australia. They are funny, emu like birds that are more colorful, and they look like they have brown paper mache hats on their beaks. I've only seen them in captivity, I wasn't lucky enough to see one in the Daintree, but many other people do see them there.

The road signs in that area of Queensland have cassowary warning signs. (I also enjoyed other animal warning signs around Australia, including those for kangaroo, wombat and Tasmanian devil). To slow traffic on the windy roads through the forest, they have speed bumps which are large and covered in spikey rocks. Unfortunately, when you combine the speed bump warning sign with the cassowary warning sign you get something that looks like a before and after picture. So, the locals of course have adapted some of the signs to just that. Both are pictured here.

Male cassowaries raise the babies. Supposedly the big threat to them besides us and loss of habitat is dogs. They run to water and sit down, and then get killed, apparently, usually by more than one dog working together. Like emus and ostriches, cassowaries are birds I personally don't want to tangle with. They can attack and can kick and are big enough to really hurt you. I would have loved to see one though!

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