A far north Queensland cassowary father and son have been happily reunited after an adventurous separation for the feathered duo.
Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt joined Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones in praising quick action from Department of Environment and Resource Management rangers to ensure the tale had a happy ending.
“A sick cassowary chick was found by a Mission Beach landowner and reported to local veterinarian Dr Graham Lauridsen last week,” Mr Pitt said.
“Local rangers Dan Mead and Richard Duffie were contacted by Dr Lauridsen from Innisfail/Tully Veterinary Surgery who had arrived on the scene almost immediately.
“The rangers were relieved to be told the prognosis was good and that Dr Lauridsen could provide treatment for ulceration to the bird’s eye.”
Ms Jones said the next issue of most concern was the turn-around for treatment.
“If a chick is not reunited with its father, who is the primary carer, within four days it may be rejected and survival chances then decrease,” Ms Jones said.
“Upon treatment, the rangers returned to the site each day with the chick, waiting patiently for hours for the father to return.
“It wasn’t until the last day that the father cassowary stepped out from the bush.
The two immediately recognised each other with the chick trying to escape his cage and the father showing immediate interest in his lost chick, Mr Pitt said.
“Once released the chick ran to its father and started rubbing itself around his legs.” Mr Pitt said.
“The father kept bending down and looking at the eye that had been ulcerated before picking up some food and offering it to the chick.
“The baby Cassowary is now recuperating with his father.”
Mr Pitt praised the quick thinking of the rangers and thanked Dr Lauridsen from Innisfail/Tully Veterinary Surgery for providing assistance to the injured cassowary.
“Thankfully, due to the quick action of the rangers and Dr Lauridsen and local rangers, one more cassowary chic will have a chance in the wild.” Mr Pitt said.
The southern cassowary is listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Of three species of cassowaries in the world, only the southern cassowary is found in Australia.
Background information on the cassowary:
The Cassowary is a large flightless bird with unusual feathers and other features that distinguish it from all other birds.
A striking bird with glossy black plumage, the adult southern assowary has a tall, brown casque (helmet) on top of its head, a vivid blue and purple neck, long drooping red wattles and amber eyes.
Adult female cassowaries can grow to an imposing two meters tall and weigh in excess of 70kgs. Males are the smaller of the sexes and can weigh up to 55 kilos.
The cassowary is mature by about three years of age.