29.5.06

Killer bird raid

THEY have put up with Cyclone Larry and weeks of torrential rain, but now the luckless residents of Innisfail face a new dilemma, a posse of hungry marauding cassowaries. Pictured above is a housewife keeping a beady eye out on her hungry visitor. The critically endangered and famously testy flightless bird, known for its ability to disembowel humans with its razor-sharp claws, is running amok through the backyards and suburban streets of north Queensland in search of food. Picture by Eddie Safarik Cassowaries are Gondwanan in origin and were concentrated in the small part of the supercontinent that later broke apart and became the present areas of Northern Australia, Papua New Guinea and some of the eastern island groups of Indonesia. Two separate populations of Australian cassowary exist - one in the Wet Tropics area from Mt Halifax/Paluma through to Cooktown and the other on Cape York Peninsula in the McIlwraith and Iron Ranges, Jardine River area and the Eastern Dunes. The Australian cassowary is called the Southern Cassowary or sometimes the Double-wattled Cassowary. Once you realise that this species is also found in Papua New Guinea along with two more species and several subspecies, then it becomes clear why ours is called the Southern Cassowary. Comments most welcome. _____________________________

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