Time is running out for the prehistoric, rare and endangered Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii), a large, flightless, colourful icon of the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area.
We believe we have found a way to help ensure the survival of this amazing bird, which evolved more than 80 million years ago. But we need your help to help the cassowary. Let’s explain a few things first.
The Wet Tropics is home to many extraordinary animals, plants and fungi. It is a unique bioregion of spectacular scenery and great biodiversity. It lies alongside the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and attracts around 1.6 million visitors a year, making it an important draw card of the Australian tourism industry.
The female cassowary stands almost 2 metres tall and is Australia’s heaviest flightless bird. The species plays a vital role in rainforest ecology and is the only disperser of some of the larger fruited rainforest trees. For more information about Cassowaries in Far North Queensland see www.missionbeachcassowaries.com
Outside the protection of the World Heritage Area, land continues to be degraded and remnant, isolated forest cleared. This clearing of habitat and encroaching urbanisation, with the attendant dangers of roaming domestic dogs, more roads and traffic, are taking their toll. But nowhere is the impact on this majestic creature seen more regularly than on our roads, where alarming numbers of adult cassowaries and chicks are killed each year. A lack of critical data, needed to justify funding and to direct research, leaves cassowary populations in peril.
Much more restorative and conservation work than that already being undertaken by individuals and government and community groups is needed to secure the Wet Tropics bioregion of Far North Queensland.
Spotted Wild promises to tackle these issues through developing a road warning system.
'Spotted Wild: The Southern Cassowary©' (developing on IOS and Android platforms) road warning system, employing the latest hands-free voice recognition technology, will enable users to record cassowary sightings and alert nearby users of a road hazard. This software will be a game changer for cassowary and driver safety and will serve as a template in future editions for other species, situations and locations, such as straying cattle, marine mammals or fallen trees.
This app will also enable large, previously unavailable data sets to be collected. Even with just 10% uptake by visitors and locals, it will provide critical data on the location and habits of these largely solitary birds. This information will be valuable for wildlife managers, scientists, government, business and tourism organisations with an interest in conserving the cassowary in the wild. All profits derived from the app are pledged to rainforest conservation and rehabilitation, so this too will directly help cassowaries.
We believe this app will also empower people through involvement in proactive conservation and citizen science.
The company Spotted Wild Pty Ltd was formed specifically to oversee and manage the production, maintenance and development of the app Spotted Wild: The Southern Cassowary© and distribution of any profits for the conservation and regeneration of Wet Tropics habitat.
Which brings us back to how you can help the cassowary. The cost of building a hybrid multiplatform, scalable, and user-friendly app to a minimum standard is $70,000. Funds raised by this campaign will be used solely for production of the app.
Please consider investing in the environment and one of nature’s great legacies – the Southern Cassowary – by supporting this project.