Saturday, July 02, 2005

Cassowary, an Oz icon


Cassowary, an Oz icon
Originally uploaded by scottydadog.
A cassowary is a very large flightless bird found only in a small section of North Queensland. A protected species with an estimated 1500 left in the wild, it contributes to maintaining the rainforest but eating fruit from trees and later excreting the seeds ready for germination. This is the dispersal method nature uses to ensure certain species of plants and trees continue to survive hence if the cassowary becomes extinct then important parts of the rainforest ecological system will begin to fail too...

The cassowary itself sort of resembles an overgrown bush turkey and stands an impressive 1.8 metres high. I managed to see this fine specimen here up close and *very* personal indeed....Whilst heading to the beach and Cape Trib we developed a keen interest in each other. In the spirit of friendship to all God's creatures I was prepared to give it a clap, jump on it's back and shout "Giddy Up" in a Bernie Clifton sort of way, however a warning shout that they bite hard from a local stopped me continuing. Realising I was now well within biting range I thought I'd do well to leg it, only to be informed that turning my back on it was also unwise. Wheeling back round to face it's impressively long reaching neck and sharp beak, I was next advised not to make sudden movements, i.e. running. My slow backpeddaling was no doubt enjoyed by both the locals and the cassowary alike, leaving me a mite unsure if I had just been punk'd, Oz style.....but at least I survived to head off to Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday coast! :-D

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