We have just begun a big season of bird breeding at Taronga Zoo, with many species starting to reproduce at this time of year. The Cassowary is one of the birds that we have high hopes for this season. ‘Maca’, our 8-year old female Cassowary born at Cairns Tropical Zoo, is paired with ‘Chuck’, our 19-year old male Cassowary. Last year was the first season that these two birds had been paired up but the eggs laid were unfortunately infertile.
The Cassowary is normally a solitary animal and will only tolerate other birds during the breeding season. We recently put Maca and Chuck together and they can now be seen wandering around their exhibit, quite often in close proximity. We have already witnessed mating this season and are expecting Maca to start laying eggs within the next two weeks. If she does lay a clutch (up to five eggs) it will be up to Chuck to incubate the eggs for 50 days.
These prehistoric looking birds are fantastic to work with and we enjoy spreading the word about the plight of Cassowaries in the wild. Taronga Zoo is a partner of the ‘Save the Cassowary’ campaign which is protecting and restoring rainforest habitat in far north Queensland. We will keep you updated on the progress of Maca and Chuck this breeding season.
Gabe Virgona - Staff conservation champion of the "Save the Cassowary" campaign.