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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability
    The Honourable Kate Jones

    Immediate action to help rare Cassowaries recover from Cyclone Yasi

    Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability
    The Honourable Kate Jones

    Tuesday, February 08, 2011

    Immediate action to help rare Cassowaries recover from Cyclone Yasi

    A specialist Cassowary Response Team has been immediately formed to lead the recovery of this iconic bird impacted by Cyclone Yasi near Mission Beach.

    Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones said an action plan had been developed, and the first priority to undertake aerial surveys was already underway.

    The next priority is the consideration of aerial food drops in targeted locations to supplement food sources for the birds.

    Finally, feeding stations are being investigated to be set up throughout the cassowary habitat to draw the birds away from local residences and roads as they search for food supplies.

    Ms Jones said the aerial surveys already undertaken have identified significant damage to the overstorey of the canopy around Mission Beach.

    “More aerial surveys are being carried out today, to fully assess the extent of the damage in crucial cassowary habitat,” Ms Jones said.

    “Aerial food drops are being considered for later this week to supplement food sources where the birds’ natural supplies are depleted.

    “Discussions with independent experts and conservation groups are also underway to consider the most appropriate locations for feeding stations, to ensure the safety of the birds.

    “New monitoring cameras will also be deployed to ensure we have the best possible information on the movements and welfare of the cassowaries.”

    Ms Jones said the iconic cassowaries were hit hard during Cyclone Larry in 2006, and now this threatened species has been hit again.

    “While some areas are still inaccessible on the ground, it’s expected that cassowary habitat further south, along the coastal range between Mission Beach and Ingham has also suffered significant damage,” Ms Jones said.

    “Cassowary habitat and food supplies were also impacted by Cyclone Larry and so our wildlife experts are drawing on experiences then to ensure our actions now are successful.

    “It’s vital that members of the public don’t feed cassowaries – for their own safety and in the interests of the birds’ survival long term. Cassowaries that come to expect food from humans can become aggressive and dangerous.

    “Our Cassowary Response Team will be actively engaged with the community, including local cassowary conservation groups and local government as they develop our full response.

    “We’re determined to ensure we give these incredible birds and their habitat every chance of recovery.”

    Media Contact: 3239 0818