Super Cyclone Yasi leaves cassowary in greater peril

The 6ft bird was at risk before the storm hit Australia. Now its survival is even more doubtful

[As Yasi hit the Queensland coast Feb 2 I wondered about how it might affect the endangered cassowary having been confronted by one of these amazing and sometimes aggressive birds in the jungle near Mission Beach a few years ago. Sorry to say it doesn’t look good for a truly incredible species. — Stephen]

By Roger Maynard

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The cassowary, one of the world’s largest birds, beaten for size and weight only by the ostrich and emu, is in a fight for its life. The flightless bird has talons that can tear open a human with one swipe, but it is normally a placid and shy fruit-eater. Now it is in peril as food supplies run low in the wake of Cyclone Yasi, which flattened vast swathes of rainforest in northern Queensland earlier this month.

Emergency food drops have already been made in the Mission Beach area, south of Cairns. The Queensland government has set up more than 50 feeding stations to supplement the birds’ diet.

Graham Lauridon, a local vet, said the main threat is to younger cassowaries, unable to fend for themselves, who have to compete for food with adult birds. “There’s a strong likelihood we will lose quite a few in the next six months,” he said.

via Cyclone puts cassowary in greater peril – Nature, Environment – The Independent.