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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. POLL: Should the wolf cull in Ontario be stopped? – [4630 Views]
  2. POLL: Should the Alberta coyote hunting contest be stopped? – [3834 Views]
  3. » POLL: Should the use of animals in circuses be stopped? [2249 Views]
  4. POLL: Should the wolf be delisted in more American states? – [2145 Views]
  5. » POLL: Should the wolf cull in Finland be stopped? [2062 Views]
  6. POLL: Should African countries be allowed to sell elephants to China? – [1545 Views]
  7. POLL: Should the trapping of bobcats and beavers be banned? – [1499 Views]
  8. POLL: Should the National Wildlife Crime Unit be properly funded by the British Government? – [1417 Views]
  9. POLL: Should the ivory trade in South Africa be legalized? – [867 Views]
  10. POLL: Should Yahoo be sanctioned for aiding the slaughter of elephants? – [782 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. POLL: Should lion canned hunting be banned? » [14291 Views]
  2. POLL: Should the trophy hunting of giraffes be banned? » [11226 Views]
  3. POLL: Should hare coursing be banned in Ireland? » [9906 Views]
  4. POLL: Should wildlife hunting contests be permitted in Idaho? » [8251 Views]
  5. POLL: Should the Faroe Islands’ whale slaughter be allowed to continue? » [8111 Views]
  6. POLL: Should Africa’s poachers be shot on sight? » [6724 Views]
  7. POLL: Should the slaughter of wolves in British Columbia be banned? » [5985 Views]
  8. POLL: Should grouse shooting on highland estates be banned? | [5394 Views]
  9. POLL: Should whales and dolphins be kept in captivity for our entertainment? » [5278 Views]
  10. POLL: Should the wolf cull in Ontario be stopped? – [4630 Views]