Skyrail Rainforest Foundation: Saving the Cassowaries

Skyrail News: April 2008

The endangered Southern Cassowary has been thrown a lifeline, thanks to results from the Skyrail Rainforest Foundation Cyclone Larry Project.

Project results will ensure that cassowaries, as well as other endangered species and their habitats, are prioritised as part of future post-cyclonic management.

This could mean the difference between life and death for cassowary populations across the region.

Clive Cook, director of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service in the Northern [Queensland] Region, said the findings were imperative for future recovery and conservation efforts.

"Thanks to the Skyrail Rainforest Foundation Cyclone Larry Project, environmental responses, particularly in regards to caring for our endangered animals, are at the forefront of planning," he said.

"The results have allowed environmental response priorities to be established, including setting up feeding stations and undertaking targeted rainforest rehabilitations, which can be activated immediately after a cyclonic event."

Dr Ken Chapman, director of the Skyrail Rainforest Foundation (SRF), said he was pleased the results had provided such positive outcomes.

"The Skyrail Rainforest Foundation is proud to have supported research projects which have provided such positive environmental management outcomes," Dr Chapman said.

"This research means that in future, rainforest rehabilitation will be front of mind after a cyclonic event, which could mean the difference between life and death for our cassowary populations."

The project outcomes will also benefit rainforest communities worldwide, when they are published in the international ecology journal Austral Ecology in May this year.

SRF Board member Professor Steve Turton said Austral Ecology was the premier scientific ecology journal of the southern hemisphere.

"Having the results of the Skyrail Rainforest Foundation Cyclone Larry Project featured in this journal is a fantastic result," Professor Turton said.

"It recognises the scientific importance of the project outcomes, as well as sharing them with the wider international community, for the benefit of rainforests worldwide."

"This journal is distributed to over 800 members of the Ecological Society of Australia, and is subscribed to electronically by hundreds of universities and research organisations around the world," he said.

The Skyrail Rainforest Foundation Cyclone Larry Project commenced in October 2006 and consists of 10 separate projects. Research was primarily undertaken by the Tropical Landscapes Joint Venture, which is an alliance between James Cook University and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

Pictures courtesy of the Wet Tropics Management Authority and Environmental Protection Agency.

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