Quantcast
Aug 022012
 

Sometimes we feel as though we are intruding into private lives, but for Big Bertha and Crinkle Cut, it’s all in a day’s work, the same old, same old….! While we were watching and filming, we heard a snort from the bushes nearby.

Was it another male cassowary or a feral pig? We don’t know, but the two cassowaries completed their coupling before separating abruptly. Crinkle Cut is our favourite cassowary father, gentle, diligent and keen to remain in Big Bertha’s territory.

He’s been missing for a while, but now that he’s back in favour with Big Bertha, we expect to see him more frequently.

Our observations have shown that Crinkle Cut is reluctant to dump his children. We have even seen him teaching the cassowary chicks to hide from Big Bertha while their father mates – just to keep the old woman happy!

According to the experts, cassowaries usually chase the chicks away somewhere between 6 and 9 months. This leaves them free to mate, sit on the eggs and care for a new batch of off-spring.

Southern Cassowary

Life hasn’t been quite so simple here in the Daintree Rainforest. While Crinkle Cut was ever-ready to mate, after he had hidden the chicks, he maintained his watchful supervision of his chicks for 19 months. He did not sit on the eggs even though he obviously sired some of the chicks. Kron, who was persuaded by Big Bertha to get rid of his chicks when they were 14 months old, was ready to sit on all of the eggs, not really concerned with the paternity issues.

One of the biggest problems that we are facing in the Daintree is the increase in pig hunting. While we acknowledge that the pigs are a threat to the environment, including the cassowaries, any eradication program will need to remove at least 80% of the estimated 10,000 pigs in the Daintree to be effective. Pig dogs are a menace as they chase cassowaries and chicks and by separating the father from his chicks, the chicks become isolated and die.

Southern Cassowary

This family photo of Big Bertha, Crinkle Cut and the two chicks show another little known aspect of family interaction. These two chicks were lost, probably through the introduction of pig dogs into the rainforest. Every aspect of the chicks’ diet is carefully supervised and moderated by the father.

I have seen the male remove a seed from a chicks mouth because it was too big, break it into smaller pieces and feed it to the chicks. If we happen upon a family during meal time, the male will not permit us to walk past and disturb this very important feeding function. It’s not a hardship for our tour group to stop, watch and photograph a privileged encounter.

Neil Hewett

Neil Hewett

Daintree World Heritage Rainforest inhabitant.


Leave a Comment

  One Response to “Cassa-nova in the Making”

  1. Neil, a big welcome to our blog – wonderful to learn about this iconic family although the fact that the chicks were lost is a real tragedy. Hoping to hear more about the Daintree Rain Forest in the coming weeks.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. POLL: Should the trophy hunting of giraffes be banned? » [8975 Views]
  2. Poll: Do you agree that shooting pheasants is good for the countryside? » [817 Views]
  3. Recently rediscovered hummingbird faces extinction » [722 Views]
  4. POLL: Should spring hunting on Malta be stopped? » [642 Views]
  5. POLL: Should the kill quota on cougars be increased in New Mexico? » [532 Views]
  6. POLL: Should fishermen in Peru be allowed to continue slaughtering dolphins? Shocking Video! » [490 Views]
  7. Komodo and its Dragons » [415 Views]
  8. Tiger family photo surprises scientists » [389 Views]
  9. Poll: Should the mass-killing of starlings with pesticides be allowed? » [373 Views]
  10. Extreme birdwatching: Twitching in war zones » [336 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. POLL: Should the trophy hunting of giraffes be banned? » [11588 Views]
  2. » POLL: Should the ban on fox hunting be relaxed in the UK? [10678 Views]
  3. Petition: Stop Lion Canned Hunting in South Africa – Shocking Video » [4124 Views]
  4. POLL: Should lion canned hunting be banned in South Africa? » [3696 Views]
  5. Komodo and its Dragons » [3663 Views]
  6. POLL: Should bear hunting be banned in the US? » [3530 Views]
  7. Poll: Should hunting of black bears in Florida be allowed? » [2983 Views]
  8. POLL: Should the slaughter of wolves in British Columbia be banned? » [2957 Views]
  9. Join the 1st World Giraffe Day and help save these gentle giants » [2888 Views]
  10. POLL: Should the wolf hunting contest in Idaho be stopped? » [2686 Views]