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    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Second dedicated cassowary rehabilitation centre announced in far north Queensland

    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Second dedicated cassowary rehabilitation centre announced in far north Queensland

    A new privately operated cassowary rehabilitation facility, to open on the Atherton Tableland in April, has just received the necessary approval from the Department of Environment Protection (EHP).

    The new facility will become the second dedicated centre for managing sick, injured and orphaned cassowaries in Queensland, Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles announced.

    Dr Miles also confirmed the Palaszczuk Government is spending an additional $530,000 to enhance cassowary rehabilitation and deliver jobs in Tropical North Queensland. 

    “This funding has been used to create four permanent wildlife officer positions, based in Innisfail and Cairns, to deliver frontline cassowary services,” Dr Miles said.

    “These EHP staff have been trained in the safe handling of distressed, sick, injured and orphaned cassowaries of all sizes, and some adult birds can be up to two metres in height".

    Dr Miles said EHP had given approval for not-for-profit group Rainforest Reserves Australia to operate the new centre at Lake Barrine, to be known as the Tablelands Cassowary Facility.

    “The work at the Tablelands Cassowary Facility will complement the government-owned Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre, which will continue to receive and treat sick, injured and orphaned cassowaries, for release back into the wild” he said.

    “Having the new facility on the Atherton Tableland will mean EHP wildlife officers called out to rescue a sick or injured cassowary will have the option of two rehabilitation centres, depending where the bird is reported, and this will help improve response times.

    “Never before have we been so well equipped to recover and rehabilitate sick, injured and orphaned cassowaries.

    “It is important we have the resources to respond to reports of cassowaries in distress. In 2016, EHP received 241 phone reports and from those seven cassowaries underwent rehabilitation at the Garners Beach centre. 

    “Already this year, more than 50 calls regarding cassowaries have been received, and two sub-adult birds are currently undergoing rehabilitation at Garners Beach".

    CEO of Rainforest Reserves Australia Carolyn Emms said the organisation had set aside 50 hectares of farming land on the Atherton Tableland and invested in revegetation, fencing and pens for the cassowaries.

    “This is a big investment but is well worth it for the long-term survival of the endangered southern cassowary,” she said.

    “We are thrilled the government has supported our plans for our own cassowary rehabilitation centre in Tropical North Queensland. The government’s approval means our vision is finally becoming a reality.

    “We are very proud of the new rehabilitation centre. It is fully equipped and we’ve created a natural habitat outdoors to help cassowaries return to good health, and we hope to open the doors soon.

    “Of course, we will also continue to operate the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre near Mission Beach, in accordance with our three year agreement with the Queensland Government.”

    Dr Miles said some of the government’s $530,000 investment would also go towards management training of wildlife officers, Rainforest Reserves Australia staff and volunteers, and community groups.

    “Some of the funding will also be directed towards public educational materials, veterinary fees and cassowary management equipment, including a cassowary recovery unit fully equipped with tools, a veterinary medicine cabinet, air-conditioning for the birds, and a lightweight cassowary transport box,” he said.

    “The unit serves as a ready-made cassowary ambulance that can simply be put on the back of a utility vehicle and sent into the field at short notice”.

    Background:

    In 2016, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) signed a three year agreement for Rainforest Reserves Australia to operate the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre, near Mission Beach.

    Under the agreement Rainforest Reserves Australia delivers the day-to-day operation of the centre including feeding the cassowaries providing veterinary services, while EHP funds maintenance, refits and repairs.

    ENDS

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