For the first time in four decades, Southern Cassowaries have been spotted on the tip of the Cape York Peninsula. The group of ten were spotted just three weeks after the area was returned to the Traditional Custodians.
The Southern Cassowary is endemic to Tropical North Queensland and there’s estimated to be around 4,600 left in the wild. However, until recently, none of these birds had been sighted in the northern region of the Cape York Peninsula.
Cape York Natural Resource Management (NRM) set up cameras in the Apudthama National Park (formerly Jardine River National Park) in a joint exercise with the Gudang Yadhaykenu traditional owners. The survey was the first formal Wadthuuny (Gudang Yadhaykenu for Cassoway) survey conducted in the park’s Ussher Point section. The cameras captured 30 images of at least ten cassowaries – four adults, four juveniles and two chicks.
The sightings ruled out the common belief that there were no cassowaries living in the region. The area is not included in many formal distribution maps.
Apudthama National Park (formerly Jardine River National Park) was returned to Traditional Owners earlier this month in a historic ceremony. The land was part of a total of 362,000 hectares of land that was returned to three local indigenous groups.