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Tablelands Tourism News

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Baby cassowaries at The Canopy Tui returns with two new chicks! 
 
Tui the cassowary has returned to The Canopy with two baby chicks. Tui calls our rainforest home, and his annual return is always a very special occasion for us. The two new chicks help make up a population of less than 1,500 cassowaries believed to exist in the wild.
 
The cassowary is a very special bird essential to the biodiversity of the Wet Tropics rainforest, so we are very proud of Tui's efforts to maintain their population.

Tui has been a regular visitor at The Canopy since February 1991. He wandered in as a sub-adult, (probably about 18 months old and brown in colour) and has made this rainforest his primary home ever since. Although he goes walk-about for a few months during the mating season from May to December, he always returns here to bring up his chicks.

Male Cassowaries raise the young with the female leaving as soon as the eggs are laid. The males will sit on the eggs for 50 days and will then care for the chicks for around 10 months.

It is believed Tui heads to the Wooroonoonan National Park region to find his mate and nest, and will walk the newly hatched chicks back to our rainforest as soon as they are strong enough.

Cassowaries have a reputation of being very dangerous and aggressive. Their principle weapon is their large clawed feet that they use in a sideways kicking motion, (it is widely rumoured that Steven Spielberg modelled the Raptor’s claws in Jurassic Park on Cassowary feet), however Cassowaries very rarely attack unprovoked. Tui has never attacked anyone here.

Cassowaries eat fruit, reptiles and small mammals - in fact anything they can find, except red coloured fruit which is often poisonous. They are flightless ground dwellers with males averaging 50 kilos and females 60 kilos. (One female in a wildlife park weighed 80 kilos!). Cassowaries are a keystone species of forests because they eat fallen fruit whole and distribute seeds across the jungle floor via their droppings with a number of rainforest trees dependant on Cassowaries for propagation.

 


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