Cassowaries

This was a sign that I saw on my way up to Cape Tribulation, a rainforest up north in Queensland.  Someone had turned a road bump sign into a dead cassowary and, later, a “before” sign was added.  Southern Cassowaries are found up in the Northeastern region of Australia and are an endangered species.  Much of their decline is due to habitat loss and some is also from cars hitting them.  I, sadly, was not able to see any while I was up at Cape Tribulation.  They are rare to see.  I was able to see one at a zoo, however.  They look like this:

Cassowaries cannot fly, as they are members of the ratites and they feed primarily on fruits, though sometimes on other parts of plants and small invertebrates as well.  Because they eat the fruits of trees and their seeds, Cassowaries are responsible for seed dispersal.  One species, the Ryparosa tree in Australian rainforests has become almost completely dependent on Cassowaries, as the seeds do not germinate unless they are digested by a Cassowary.  When I stayed overnight at Cape Tribulation, I wandered through the rainforest several times in the hopes of catching a glimpse of one of these massive, incredible birds, but I was not successful.  I did have a nice, relaxing day enjoying how the rainforest is right along the beach and stops just as sand is appearing.



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