Just when you think you are aware of all of Australia’s most iconic creatures, you come across a new one you’ve never heard of before.
The animal in question is a huge flightless bird called the Cassowary, I know what the hell is a Cassowary? It’s like nothing I have ever seen before.
The bird itself is as tall as a human and resembles an Emu or Ostrich with a feathery black body. However it’s when you look at the creature’s prehistoric head that things become interesting, its bright blue in colour, with a contrasting bright red neck flap, bright orange eyes and a horn like skull… There’s just nothing else I can compare it too.
These illusive creatures reside in the north-eastern forests of Australia and some of the New Guinea Islands. They are unfortunately endangered with only two thousand left in the wild, so bumping into one of them in the wild is rare – especially for a tourist.
We first learned of these majestic creatures in a Crocodile Farm just below Cairns, where two rogue Cassowaries now reside. The problem with Cassowaries is that they have been documented being aggressive towards humans, running and kicking at them if they feel threatened. Their strong kick is made worse by the five-inch dagger-like claw on one of their toes. This claw is usually used for digging, however can pose a substantial threat. Along with the fact that they can run up to fifty kilometers an hour and jump up to 1.5 meters – they truly are a formidable creature. Believe me you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of one, those orange eyes against that blue head – it just looks terrifying!
With its territory under threat and it living only off just fruit and seeds, its endangered status is very much a reality. Therefore seeing one of these creatures in the wild is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Megan and I scoured the Daintree and the Tablelands (renowned Cassowary habitats) and found nothing. So upon hearing from a local of a small coastal town they had wild Cassowaries roaming around the town, we had to take the opportunity, even if the possibility was remote.
Unbelievably, we drove into the town and there one was just strolling down the road. It colourful neck bobbing up and down as it passed a few cars and entered the beachfront. It was just incredible, I know we had already seen them but it’s just special to see an animal like this in its true wild state. It seemed we really lucked out, as we also caught sight of another two fully-grown Cassowaries in the same location – Simply a priceless Wandering Memory.
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