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.

Share on social media:

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Neil Hewett

Neil Hewett

Daintree World Heritage Rainforest inhabitant.

Leave a Comment

avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Supertrooper
Member
4 years 1 month ago

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.

wpDiscuz

Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farms? [8127 Views]
  2. POLL: Should Japan’s “research whaling” program be closed down? [1956 Views]
  3. Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [1399 Views]
  4. Rare desert lions of ‘five musketeers’ fame poisoned [1241 Views]
  5. POLL: Should Norway’s plan to cull its wolves be abandoned? [1237 Views]
  6. The biologist terrifying the US Forest Service, timber and forest fire-fighting industries [1189 Views]
  7. POLL: Should buzzards be killed to protect pheasants? [1086 Views]
  8. POLL: Should Japan’s killing of dolphins and whales be stopped? [955 Views]
  9. POLL: Should the badger cull in the UK be extended? [899 Views]
  10. POLL: Should microplastics be banned in cosmetics? [834 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. White Killer Whale Adult Spotted for First Time in Wild [41859 Views]
  2. POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farms? [16576 Views]
  3. POLL: Should the annual Canadian seal hunt be banned? [15164 Views]
  4. POLL: Should fur farming be banned in the European Union? [13389 Views]
  5. POLL: Should Congress disband Wildlife “Killing” Services? [11073 Views]
  6. POLL: Should hare coursing be banned in Ireland? [10031 Views]
  7. POLL: Should driven grouse-shooting be banned? [8403 Views]
  8. POLL: Should grouse shooting on highland estates be banned? [8265 Views]
  9. Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [8037 Views]
  10. POLL: Should black bears be killed for Royal Guards’ fur caps? [8003 Views]