About two months ago, this magnificent adult female cassowary (above) traversed alongside our house with a dreadful limp. At the time, cassowaries had been fighting, so I assumed this one had suffered an injury in such conflict.
However, the big bird was not seen again for about two months and this was remarkable for this well-known inhabitant. She re-emerged late last week with no improvement in her gait, but with a dramatic loss of weight and this has presented an awkward dilemma for the land-manager.
It is pretty obvious that the bird is suffering. Then again, being a declared endangered species under EPBC, different protocols are invoked for response and intervention. She is a dominant female of a population of perhaps fewer than one-hundred birds remaining in the Daintree Cape Tribulation rainforests. She is also a wild animal with really scary feet.
Queensland’s EPA has the delegated authority for such matters. яндекс. For the importance of the bird they are compelled to have the animal assessed by a veterinarian for diagnosis. If it is perceived that the animal is suffering from an infection, strategically placed fruit with antibiotics could be deployed. If the trauma was identified as a dislocation, the animal might be tranquilized or netted for manipulation. On the other hand, if the injury required resetting and immobilization for weeks, say for a broken bone, then the bird would be euthanased.
Trouble is, a vet with cassowary expertise cannot really expect to travel from Cairns or Ingham or wherever, to the Cooper Valley in the Daintree and the expectant arrival of a wild cassowary.
In a stroke of good fortune, a departing client rang through to the office from our entrance courtesy phone, that the injured cassowary was halfway along our driveway. I drove down and managed to get about ten minutes of video of the brid, limping and feeding and hopefully this will allow the vet to make the necessary determination.