The endangered Southern Cassowary is Australia’s heaviest flightless bird, with a brightly coloured blue and purple head and a red wattle. This project worked with members of the community to revegetate cleared and degraded areas of the ancient Daintree lowland rainforest, where the Cassowary lives. The area is important habitat for 122 threatened species and has the highest concentration of primitive plant families in the world. Local stocks of these species were used in order to ensure they were best suited to the area.
The project successfully recovered, germinated and nurtured enough trees to revegetate one acre with the trees that cassowaries use for food. In the process, more than 100 members of the public learnt about the importance of Cassowaries and the potential threats posed by cars, and feral dogs and cats.
Thirty of the 40 species planted were those depended upon by the Cassowary for food. But this relationship works both ways – the seeds eaten by the Cassowary will only germinate as they pass through the gut of the birds. So Cassowaries play an essential role in their ecosystems - without them the unique vegetation of the Daintree would be lost.
Rainforest Rescue is a not-for-profit organisation that provides opportunities for individuals and businesses to protect rainforests. Their projects re-establish rainforests through planting, maintenance and restoration programs, as well as by purchasing and protecting high conservation value rainforest and preserving its biodiversity.