Community & Business

11 March, 2022

Cassowaries on the move

CASSOWARY sightings on the Kuranda Range Road have gone ballistic online over the last few weeks, with Kuranda Conservation urging people to slow down and watch out for the region’s spectacular big bird.

The cassowary population has significantly increased over the last few years on the Kuranda Range Road.
The cassowary population has significantly increased over the last few years on the Kuranda Range Road.

For years, travellers on the Kuranda Range have kept their eyes peeled for cassowaries, especially some its most iconic residents, “Elvis” and his chicks. 

The population of the flightless birds in the Wet Tropics area has visibly increased over the past 20 years, jumping from approximately 1500 birds to almost 4000. 

In the Kuranda-Speewah region alone, the population has increased from just 12 cassowaries to 40 in 30 years which are all known to Kuranda Conservation by name. 

Kuranda Conservation Secretary Jax Bergersen said she suspected the rising number of cassowaries was a testimony to locals who have a greater awareness about them in the area. 

“Dogs are nowadays better controlled and not let to run through the forests when their owners come home from work and let them loose,” she said. 

“It could also be due to more sophisticated methods being used to monitor them – we have been mapping the cassowary corridors and explaining to landholders within the corridors about their unique responsibility by living in cassowary habitat and protecting it for them and restricting their own invasion. 

“Most people who choose to live in such a place respect its natural value.” 

So far this season, there have been no reports of cassowaries being hit in the area, creating a collective sigh of relief from Kuranda Conservation and the local community. 

“It is largely thanks to drivers who slow down if they see a bird on or beside the road,” Jax said. 

“It can be a nuisance and annoying to be held up by slow traffic, but driver patience is applauded and appreciated. 

“It can also be a thrill of a lifetime to see the large, magnificent animal so close up and going about its business while we go about ours.”


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