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Don't feed the birds reminder as cassowary relocated from urban area

19 August 2016

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection is reminding people not to feed cassowaries as it can lead to them becoming habituated and aggressive.

Young birds may seem harmless but if they become accustomed to human interaction it can lead to aggressive behaviour which is far more dangerous as the bird matures.

A young cassowary was removed from an urban area at Coquette Point after feeding by humans caused it to become semi-habituated.

EHP wildlife officers were first alerted to potential problems with the bird at the beginning of August 2016.

A resident of Coquette Point reported that the cassowary was behaving aggressively towards an elderly man and trying to enter his home.

Wildlife officers continued to monitor the cassowary’s activity and the decision was reluctantly taken to relocate the bird after it was clear it had become accustomed to associate people with being fed.

Unfortunately this can lead to aggressive behaviour which can be potentially dangerous as the bird matures.

It is always preferable to leave a cassowary in its home range but in this instance the proximity to homes meant the risk of future attacks was considered unacceptably high.

Wildlife officers removed the cassowary using a dart pole and transported it to Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre in a lightweight plastic box which was specially designed by EHP to minimise stress on cassowaries during relocation.

The cassowary has been relocated to a remote area of rainforest away from human habitation.

People living in or visiting cassowary territory can help protect these important and beautiful birds 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 the cassowaries, especially on the side of the road where they might be hit by passing cars, and
  • Letting cassowaries find their own food.

Sick, injured and orphaned cassowaries should be reported to EHP on 1300 130 372.

More information on cassowaries is available on the EHP website.

Last updated
19 August 2016