Being a park ranger for 6 months, I have the chance to get involved in very interesting projects and actions the rangers do. What an amazing experience for a nature lover like me!

 

What a good surprise to read that part of my job this week was to visit the Cassowary Rehabilitation Center at Mission Beach (Garners Beach Rehabilitation Facility) and meet the wildlife rangers.

 

In this center, a dedicated team of passionate rangers work every day to protect the cassowaries. 

#6 Releasing a Cassowary into the wild

What is a cassowary?

 

The cassowary is one of the biggest flightless bird, which is only found in New Guinea and Australia (mostly in the Wet Tropics, eg on the Coast between Townsville and Cooktown).

 

They are listed as an endangered species and only around 2500 birds are left.

 

To learn more about them click here         >>>

 

Why a rehabilitation center?

 

The wildlife rangers rescue most of the time cassowary chicks found without their parents and too young to survive on their own. Chicks are raised at the rehabilitation center. The rangers are careful and don’t interact with the wild birds. It’s very important they don’t get used to the people and stay wild.

 

The major threat to the cassowary is the loss and fragmentation of habitat. Aside from habitat loss, vehicle strike can also be a major threat…

 

There have been 29 recorded cassowary deaths as a result of vehicle strike over the past six years in the region. That’s why it’s vital drivers be aware of the cassowaries.

 

Cyclone damage is also a problem and food shortages after Cyclone Yasi had to be addressed by an extensive feeding program here.

 

 

 

The release:

 

This morning, we are going to release the bird in Djiru National Park near Mission Beach, not far from where it was found in November last year.

 

It’s been rehabilitated and is now at the age when it can be released back into the wild. The rangers tagged the bird and put it in a cage, direction the rainforest. 

 

Once there, we open the cage and wait for the cassowary to escape. It takes its time to go out and explore its new playground, but once he was ready it ran out without saying goodbye! It disappeared in the thick forest in less than 2 seconds!

Proud to have done a good action, we could get back to the center and take care of the others waiting for their release.

 

I’ve travelled the world and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such beautiful giant birds. It’s no wonder Queenslanders are so proud of their cassowaries and try so hard to take care of them.

 

I feel very good to have been part of this action and who knows I may come across this one during my stay in Mission Beach.