Dain­tree res­i­dents unite for cas­sowaries

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Mike D’Arcy

THE re­cent spate of cas­sowary deaths north of the Dain­tree River has en­cour­aged a group of lo­cals to de­velop strate­gies to try to bring a stop to hu­manin­duced cas­sowary deaths, and maybe even in­crease the cas­sowary pop­u­la­tion.

Cas­sowaries are an En­dan­gered species, listed as a Crit­i­cal Pri­or­ity by the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment.

A hit and run car strike killed one cas­sowary plus a dog at­tack that killed three “teenage” cas­sowary chicks have high­lighted the frag­ile sit­u­a­tion of the al­ready En­dan­gered species,

Con­cerned lo­cals have re­sponded by form­ing a Wildlife Com­mit­tee to ad­dress the prob­lem.

It pro­poses to op­er­ate as part of the Dain­tree Coast Com­mu­nity Coun­cil.

A com­mit­tee spokesper­son said that while nat­u­ral attrition was ex­tremely high in cas­sowaries, the group be­lieves that as a so­ci­ety we could do more to ad­dress un­nec­es­sary hu­man-in­duced deaths.

“The in­ci­dents have spot- lighted weak­nesses in re­sponse strate­gies and com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion.

“Re­cent re­search shows that there are only 109 cas­sowaries left in the Dain­tree Coast area, a re­mark­ably sta­ble com­par­i­son with re­search con­ducted ear­lier in the 1990s. Un­for­tu­nately, there ap­pears to have been no in­crease in cas­sowary num­bers over the pe­riod.

“Al­ready our group is look­ing at other groups and agen­cies with sim­i­lar in­ter­ests and key po­ten­tial roles.

“The Dain­tree Coast Wildlife Com­mit­tee has started to de­velop strate­gies such as pin­point­ing cas­sowary num­bers by lo­ca­tions then look­ing at risks and po­ten­tial strate­gies in each of the key pop­u­la­tion ar­eas.

“More gen­eral mea­sures such as traf­fic man­age­ment; driver ed­u­ca­tion; a pos­si­ble cas­sowary re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion sta­tion in the Dain­tree Coast; de­vel­op­ment of first step re­sponse mea­sures in the event of in­ci­dents; Coun­cil by-laws; and pig and dog con­trol will all be ex­am­ined over the com­ing months.”

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