Inhabiting dense tropical rainforests of Northern Queensland, the Southern Cassowary is a keystone species, contributing to the ecosystem by dispersing seeds of over 200 plant species throughout the rainforest.
Early in 2016 Taronga established a conservation partnership with Girringun Aboriginal Corporation to protect the Southern Cassowary (Gunduy) in a co-managed Indigenous Protected Area. Gunduy is a totem species and is of great cultural significance to Traditional Owners.
The main elements of the partnership are to restore natural habitat, increase remaining habitat connectivity for Gunduy and manage threatening processes wherever possible. Cassowary are mainly threatened by deforestation, habitat fragmentation and road accidents.
This program has a strong community component as well, where cooperation among Junior Rangers, schools, community groups, and regional co-management partners in the habitat restoration is critical for the effective protection of the Cassowary.