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
(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.