Signed postcard submissions sent to Environment Minister
We have now sent the Environment Minister approximately 7500 signed postcard submissions and 1213 online submissions. We have received two written responses from the Minister’s office and we have responded accordingly, however, we still await the opportunity to meet with him directly.
In January 2011, we met with representatives from the Queensland State Environment Department along with a representative from Terrain NRM to discuss how the Queensland State Government can contribute towards protecting the Cassowary in the Wet Tropics. Discussions have begun about setting up a State based taskforce that will take on the role of drafting a Cassowary Conservation Plan for the entire Wet Tropics. This is a fantastic step in the right direction for protecting the Cassowary, not only in the Daintree and Mission Beach but for populations across the entire Wet Tropics.
We have been working closely with Terrain NRM and Cairns Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC) on aligning our messages and urging the State Government to take immediate action on a state level to encourage the Federal Government to take action as well.
Over the last few months, we have contributed to the submission processes for the development proposal for Lot 66, or ‘Garrett’s Corridor’ in Mission Beach; and for the Queensland Draft Biodiversity Strategy. We hope to see positive outcomes from both those processes and will keep supporters informed on the outcomes.
Garrett Corridor with Lot 66 boundaries
Lot 66 or ‘Garrett’s Corridor’ is a 60 acre block of healthy, intact rainforest in Mission Beach that connects the World Heritage Area to the critically endangered littoral rainforest in the coastal lowlands. This property is known to support at least 5 individual cassowaries and an array of other threatened and endangered rainforest species in an otherwise seriously fragmented landscape.
In 2008, Peter Garrett, former Environment Minister denied the approval of the first development proposal as he found it to be ‘clearly unacceptable‘ for the cassowary under the EPBC Act. However, now that the developers have tweaked the plans, to reduce the number of allotments to 15 it is being assessed again.
The Mission Beach community are pushing for a voluntary buyback of the land in order to protect it in perpetuity. Despite the numerous plans, policies and reports, 40 % of the cassowary habitat in Mission Beach remains unprotected.
The decision has been delayed yet again until July 11th, 2011.
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Following Cyclone Yasi on Feb 3rd 2011, support for Cassowary conservation in Far North Queensland and Australia wide has sky-rocketed! The Department of Environment Resource Management
Cassowary in cyclone-ravished rainforest Mission Beach, Liz Gallie
(DERM) was quick off the mark with a Cassowary Recovery Strategy following lessons learnt by Cyclone Larry in 2006. They have coordinated feeding stations on the ground for the hungry Cassowaries and volunteers for cutting up donated fruit.
So far DERM have set up 99 cassowary feeding stations from Cardwell Range north to Flying Fish Point and volunteers have cut up over 10,000kg of fruit over 400 hours.
Funds raised so far
Rainforest Rescue and Bob Irwin have been raising funds for the post Yasi Cassowary recovery effort. So far, Rainforest Rescue and their supporters have raised over $50,000, of which $10,000 has already been donated to the feeding program. The remaining $40,000 will be donated to ongoing tree planting projects run by local Mission Beach community groups.
Follow up on the Federal level
The Save the Cassowary Campaign has drafted a letter to Minister Tony Burke addressing our main concerns regarding the impacts of cyclones on the already fragmented rainforest habitat of the Wet Tropics. We will be asking all endorsing organisations to sign onto this letter before sending it to his office in Canberra.
Cassowary death toll
Sadly, following cyclone Yasi, two cassowaries have been killed by vehicle collisions and another two died due to un-identified injuries. This brings the reported number of Cassowaries killed directly by cars over the last 15 years to 67. Following Cyclone Larry in 2006, 31 cassowaries were killed; mostly on the roads. Hopefully this time the community and local contractors are more informed about the risks post cyclone and take the utmost care when driving on the roads.
Australia Zoo in Brisbane will be holding a fundraiser in June. Oak Vale Farm and Fauna World in NSW have come on board and Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary in Brisbane are very supportive of the campaign as well.
Zoo’s Victoria have also been raising awareness about the plight of the Cassowaries and asking customers to fill in the postcard submissions.
There have been a number of schools also raising awareness on the issue Australia-wide and in the recent Lena Mackrel Schools’ Poetry Competition Armagh, Northern Ireland (UK) the winner of the competition wrote the following poem on Cassowaries. Congratulations to Matthew Reaney!
Save the Cassowary painting by Noa Simon, VIC
In the rainforests of Australia
I pick and peck all day.
I gossip with the wombats
Don’t you wonder what they say?
The possums they are sleeping,
In the gum trees way up high
The parrots they are squeaking,
Cassowary painting by Indigo Simon, VIC
‘G’day’ they say as they fly by.
A large but timid bird
I’m the King of all the Rainforest
But my crown is quite absurd.
Cassowary Road sign
There are a number of things happening on the ground to help the cassowaries recover quickly after cyclone Yasi. If you see any cassowaries, please report them to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the hotline 1300 130 372.
If you would like to volunteer and help prepare the cassowary food, please contact Ms Jodie Eden, Community Education Ranger, email email@example.com or phone her on (07) 4091 8102.
So far on the ground:
- 21 feed stations have been established in the Mission Beach, Tully, Cardwell, Tully Heads, Etty Bay and Mt Mackay areas.
- 1200kg of fruit has been distributed to feed stations and as part of aerial food drops. There has been a great response from suppliers – donations are coming in thick and fast.
- Ground assessment of sites continues, and is moving into southern areas (Tully to Cardwell). QPWS is reviewing information about cassowaries from the community as it comes to hand, and field crews are monitoring key sites and bird behaviour to guide response actions such as new feed stations, signage and advice to neighbours.
- QPWS support crews arrived in Cardwell on Monday and are assisting with feed station access (heavy timber cutting is needed).
- A preliminary meeting was held with key community members from Mission Beach area on Friday 11th.
- A public meeting will be held in Mission Beach at 5:30pm on Friday 18th February at C4 Environmental Centre, Porter Promenade, Mission Beach to talk about the programme and how local people can get involved (details below).
- Terrain is working with the Cassowary Coast Regional Council to address the threat from dogs and motor vehicles, including signage and speed controls.
- There continues to be an amazing level of support for cassowary conservation post-cyclone from a range of conservation NGOs and fruit suppliers.
- Much cutting-up of fruit is occurring!
Thank you for keeping in touch. For further information please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to the interview with Liz Gallie, Save the Cassowary Campaign’s Mission Beach representative updating us on the situation with the cassowaries in Mission Beach and what needs to happen from now on. http://www.abc.net.au/rn/breakfast/stories/2011/3133788.htm
Cyclone Yasi devastation, Liz Gallie
Help save the cassowaries
Hungry cassowaries may get aerial food drops
Cassowaries to struggle after cyclone
Endangered cassowaries are struggling to find food in the wake of last week’s Cyclone Yasi
Yasi Strips rare forest, reef
Bob Irwin is calling on the public to give generously towards helping set up cassowary feeding stations and longer term habiat protection in Mission Beach and surrounding areas after cyclone Yasi hit this area hard last week. Donations collected from Bob Irwins website (www.bobirwinwildlife.com), Rainforest Rescue’s website (www.rainforestrescue.org.au) and Save the Cassowary website (www.savethecassowary.org.au) will be pooled together and donated to the cause.
The news from the ground in Mission Beach is that there is alot of cassowary food (rainforest fruits) on the ground. This fruit should last a week or two and Queensland Parks and Wildlife hope to have feeding stations set up by the time the cassowaries start getting hungry. One of the main concerns for cassowaries now is vehicle collisions as they start to emerge from the rainforests and come onto the roads. With people in a frantic panic to get their town cleaned up, cassowaries are at risk of being hit by cars. This is how many died after cyclone Larry in 2006. Police are urging people to drive 80km in the 100km speed zone and temporary speed reduction signs may be placed around the town soon, to remind people to slow down and drive carefully.
Now that locals are beginning to clean up the debris and their properties, we urge people to clean up sensitively, being conscious of not clearing any more cassowary habitat land than necessary. The fragmentation of Mission Beach’s rainforest habitat already poses huge problems for cassowaries so we need to preserve all of what is left.
To read Bob Irwins press release, click on the link below.
Please make a donation to either of the websites above to help the cassowaries out in Mission Beach.
Cyclone Yasi crosses over the coast of Mission Beach
Cyclone Yasi has severely damaged the rainforests of Mission Beach, Tully, Innisfail and surrounding areas, leaving wildlife and cassowaries to fend for themselves. Within twelve months of cyclone Larry in 2006, approximately half the local population of cassowaries died due to starvation and heat exhaustion in damaged rainforests. In the face of climate change it is imperative that the biodiverse rainforests of the Wet Tropics are protected from further fragmentation to ensure they are as resilient as possible to the effects of climate change such as cyclones.
First priority is securing people safety and getting food, water and resources to those in affected areas. Roads and access points to many areas are still blocked and need to be cleared.
Fallen fruit from the rainforests should keep cassowaries and wildlife fed for at least a week or two and hopefully by then the Cassowary Recovery Team will have organised a plan for the displaced cassowaries. If you are in any of the affected areas, please refrain from hand feeding cassowaries, there will be feeding stations organised as soon as possible.
For an update on the state of Mission Beach click on this link.
Writing a hand written letter can take 5-10minutes but it is an EXTREMELY powerful tool. Each hand written letter counts for 100 signatures! In a time where everything is done online, a hand written letter can really stand out.
Please spare 5 minutes today to write to the below key decision makers on this issue.
Here are sample letters for you to use as a guide for your letters.
- Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities, Tony Burke
- Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Hon Kate Jones MP
Garrett's Corridor still at risk of development
In 2008 Minister Garrett stepped in to stop an inappropriate development on a 60 acre property in Mission Beach. His decision was based on the development being ‘cleary unacceptable’ under the EPBC Act for the Endangered Cassowary’s of Mission Beach. The developer has now lodged another application for subdividing this property. This land is a very important habitat corridor as it connects the critically endangered Littoral Rainforest on the coastal lowlands to the Wet Tropics World Heritage rainforest and is listed as essential Cassowary habitat. The only acceptable outcome is for buyback of Lot 66 and for it to be protected forever.
Please help us protect this important Cassowary habitat by writing a letter to Minister Burke today asking for buyback of Lot 66. Click here for key points to consider.
More Info contact Liz Gallie on mob: 0414 402 315 or email: email@example.com