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FEATURED AUSTRALIA: Southern cassowary population discovered in northern Cape York for first time in 40 years

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#AceNewsDesk – A group of cassowaries have been spotted at the tip of Australia’s mainland for the first time in 40 years, signalling new hope for the endangered bird.

A cassowary looks at the camera.
ABC NEWS: A group of cassowaries have been found living in northern mainland Australia.(Supplied: Flickr)none

The southern cassowary is widely known as one of the world’s most dangerous birds and is only found in far north Queensland, Papua New Guinea and eastern Indonesia according to ABC News

The bird is often spotted walking along beaches to the south of Cairns, but seeing one near the top of Cape York Peninsula is a rare occurrence, let alone a group of 10, according to researchers.

Cape York Natural Resource Management (NRM) cassowary consultant Wren McLean said cameras were set up in the Apudthama National Park, previously named the Jardine River National Park, in the first survey of its kind in the area.

She said the cameras captured 30 images of at least 10 cassowaries, including four adults, four juvenile birds and two chicks in the joint exercise with the Gudang Yadhaykenu traditional owners.

A cassowary in bushland
A southern cassowary has been captured on camera near the tip of mainland Australia.(Supplied: Cape York NRM)none

” The last memory of a sighting by traditional owners was estimated to be around 40 years ago,” Ms McLean said.

“We are thrilled and it is more than we ever expected, we are over the moon.

“To discover a breeding population of cassowaries in an area where they had not been sighted for so long is wonderful news.”

Ms McLean said the finding ruled out the common perception that cassowaries in the region were extinct.The group of cassowaries were found in the Apudthama National Park at the tip of mainland Australia.(Google Maps)none

“We knew that historically a northern sub-population did exist, but they hadn’t been seen until a camera trap image was taken back in 2018,” she said.

Myiesha Yoelu from the Ipima Ikaya Aboriginal Corporation said traditional owners were also excited about the discovery.

“Wadthuuny (cassowaries) play a key role in our rainforests ecosystem and it’s nice to see that our country is now the home of 10 or more cassowaries,” Ms Yoelu said.

“The next step moving forward is to further monitor them throughout country and take steps to protect this beautiful bird at all costs.”Cameras captured 30 images of at least 10 cassowaries, including this juvenile bird.(Supplied: Cape York NRM)none

Cassowary gives chase

Last month, a southern cassowary was captured on video, sprinting after a group of rangers in Cape York.

The bird chased the Wuthathi Custodians, a ranger group based near Shelburne Bay, while they conducted fieldwork and track maintenance.

Ms McLean said birds in the northern Cape York area tended to have a more varied diet than their southern cousins, eating not only fruit but fungus, crabs and even roadkill.

“So they are pretty protein hungry. When they get a chance to eat protein, they’ll go for it,” she said.

The CSIRO estimates 4,400 cassowaries live in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, which spans from south of Ingham to Cape Tribulation and does not take in the Cape York population.

#AceNewsDesk report โ€ฆโ€ฆโ€ฆ..Published: Sept.28: 2022:

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