Man at­tacked by cas­sowary

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Daniel Bate­man

A CAS­SOWARY ex­pert says a man who was at­tacked by a cas­sowary was very lucky to es­cape with­out be­ing se­ri­ously in­jured.

Rangers have cap­tured and re­moved the adult male cas­sowary that at­tacked the man along Tully Gorge Rd, west of the town, on Mon­day night, Au­gust 8.

The man suf­fered only cuts and bruises.

The Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion (EHP) said the bird was a reg­u­lar vis­i­tor to the area and was also re­ported to have been seen at­tack­ing the win­dows of houses.

An EHP spokes­woman said wildlife of­fi­cers se­dated the bird and placed it in a spe­cially de­signed cas­sowary trans­port box for an overnight stay at the Gar­ners Beach Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Tues­day.

It was re­leased into a re­mote sec­tion of Wooroonooran Na­tional Park, be­tween Cairns and In­n­is­fail, the fol­low­ing day.

The spokes­woman said it was likely the cas­sowary’s be­hav­iour was the re­sult of hav­ing been fed by hu­mans.

Out­side Mag­a­zine in 2013 cited death by cas­sowary as one of the top 10 worst ways to die in the wild, de­scrib­ing Aus­tralia’s largest bird species as “mod­ern day ve­loci­rap­tors” with dag­ger-like claws.

Tully vet­eri­nar­ian Dr Gra­ham Lau­rid­sen said the man was very lucky to es­cape with­out se­ri­ous in­jury, de­scrib­ing pre­vi­ous at­tacks upon peo­ple as “sig­nif­i­cant events.”

He said cas­sowaries that had reg­u­larly come into Cas­sowary Cen­tre on con­tact with peo­ple tended to be more ag­gres­sive.

“It’s not like be­cause they’re wan­der­ing past some­body and see them and want to bash them up,” he said.

“It’s nor­mally to do with a feed­ing is­sue. They think peo­ple are a food source; they come in and get a bit cranky.

“Don’t feed them, and en­joy them from a dis­tance,” he said.

The EHP spokes­woman said peo­ple liv­ing in or vis­it­ing cas­sowary ter­ri­tory could help pro­tect the en­dan­gered an­i­mals by re­tain­ing veg­e­ta­tion on prop­er­ties as cas­sowary feed­ing grounds and cor­ri­dors; be­ing care­ful when driv­ing, slow­ing down and avoid­ing the an­i­mals; re­strain­ing do­mes­tic dogs; never feed­ing cas­sowaries, es­pe­cially on the side of the road where they might be hit by pass­ing cars; and let­ting cas­sowaries find their own food.

‘Mod­ern day ve­loci­rap­tors’: the cas­sowary that at­tacked a man near Tully was re­lo­cated by Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage Pro­tec­tion rangers

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