World Cassowary Day
26th September 2020
About World Cassowary Day
World Cassowary Day is a day of celebration to draw international attention to the reasons Cassowaries are globally important and need to be protected.
On World Cassowary Day, we celebrate and showcase the Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) and the conservation efforts of people working to protect them, their home, and the other unique and endangered animals of the World Heritage listed Wet Tropics Rainforests.
What is a Cassowary?
The Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) is a large, flightless bird with impressive colouring and strong, dinosaur-like feet.
While the Southern Cassowary is found in Papua New Guinea and surrounding islands, one subspecies – Casuarius casuarius johnsonii – lives in Australia, mostly in the dense, tropical World Heritage listed Wet Tropics rainforests which include the world's oldest continuously surviving rainforests. Cassowary numbers in Australia plummeted until World Heritage listing of the rainforests in 1988. Current population estimates for cassowaries in Australia are just 4000 and habitat loss, car strikes and dog attacks continue to threaten the species. While the World Heritage Area has been critical in halting the decline, cassowaries use other surrounding areas, including on private lands and roadways. Working with people in and out the World Heritage Area is vital to the survival of these magnificent birds.
Not only are cassowaries critical to the survival of the rainforest because they spread the seeds of the unique rainforest trees, but by protecting their home, we protect the homes of many other unique and endangered animals including Tree Kangaroos, Spectacled Flying Foxes and Mahogany Gliders. Not to mention the extremely ancient plant families found nowhere else on Earth.
Still this place, and these creatures, remain unknown to those not familiar with this unique part of the world. To protect Cassowaries and their World Heritage home, we need the whole world to know about them, so on September 26 - World Cassowary Day - can you help make the magnificent Cassowary famous?
It’s easy and free!
Listed as Endangered, the Australian Southern Cassowary has fewer than 4,600 birds left in the wild. These living dinosaurs play a crucial role in rainforest ecology and regeneration.
Save the Cassowary is a unique partnership between Rainforest Rescue, government organisations, business partners, Aboriginal Corporations, universities and 20+ zoos and other non-government organisations — to raise awareness of the plight of the Endangered Australian Southern Cassowary and raise funds to help protect these rare creatures.
WHY DO WE NEED SAVE THE CASSOWARY?
The cassowary is under increasing threat from loss of habitat due to development, car strikes, dog attacks and the increased severity and frequency of natural disasters.
They are regarded as a ‘keystone’ species. Through eating the fruits of over 240 species of rainforest plants and excreting the seeds great distances from the parent plant, the cassowary plays a vital role as a ‘rainforest gardener’. Many rainforest plants depend on the cassowary to move about the landscape … without them, the structure of the rainforest would permanently change.
Shy by nature and only posing a threat when defending their nests or chicks or when threatened.