Rainforest Rescue have been protecting and restoring rainforests in Australia and internationally since 1998. Their projects re-establish rainforests through planting, maintenance and restoration programs, as well as purchasing and protecting high conservation value rainforest and preserving its' biodiversity.
We have chosen to support Rainforest Rescue this month, because in turn, we can support the Southern Cassowary and it's habitat.
Cassowaries are ratites (flightless birds, without a keel on their sternum bone) and are native to the tropical rain forests of north eastern Australia and of New Guinea. Its name is derived from the Papuan words kasu (“horned”) and weri (“head”) in reference to the distinctive ‘casque’ on the bird’s head.
The southern Cassowary is currently listed as ‘Endangered’ under the EPBC act.
It is estimated that the number of cassowaries living in the wild has declined by over 50% since 1988. The major causes of decline are results of human activity. Current threats to cassowaries include; habitat loss, motor vehicles, dog attacks, disease and feral pigs.
Not only are they one of the coolest birds in the world (direct descendants of dinosaurs!), they actually play an extremely important role within the rainforest ecosystem. The cassowary is known as the ‘Rainforest Gardener’. It is a key stone species that maintains the balance and diversity of its rainforest home through its role as a seed disperser. The Southern Cassowary’s main food is rainforest fruits. The gentle treatment of the fruits through the Cassowary’s primitive digestive system means the seeds are passed unharmed and ready for germination in their own “compost heap” of dung! Cassowaries are known to eat the fruit of at least 180 species (52 families, 102 genera). In Queensland’s rainforests Southern Cassowaries are the only native animal capable of dispersing the seeds of large-fruited plants and trees over long distances, ensuring the continued balance and biodiversity of the rainforest plant community. Without Cassowaries these plants and trees would only occur in concentrated pockets around parent trees or in places where dispersal by gravity can occur, such as gullies or the bottom of slopes. Conserving Cassowaries has flow-on effects for other threatened rainforest species such as the mahogany glider and northern quoll, for which the fruit also provides a major food source.
Let's get behind Rainforest Rescue this November and help them to protect the Southern Cassowary and it's habitat. When you visit us this month, you'll find a donation box in The Dome; home of our very popular 'Meet The Wombat & Friends'.
You can learn more about Rainforest Rescue here: