Unfortunately, there’s no punch line and the situation is no laughing matter. Habitat loss and fragmentation have left the Australian population of cassowaries on the brink of extinction. These huge birds need large amounts of land to roam in search of food and to breed, but their habitat is breathtakingly beautiful, leading to a boom in residential and commercial construction in the area. Everyone wants to live near the rainforests of Australia, but there’s simply not enough room for everyone.
When roads are built through cassowary habitat, horrible things happen:
It’s not just the cassowary that’s impacted by humans moving in. Habitat loss and fragmentation affect ALL the animals and plants of the rainforest. The cassowary just happens to be the largest and most noticeable example of species that are just around the corner from extinction.
The Australian rainforests are home to approximately 3,000 different plant species from 210 families including:
- 65% of Australia’s ferns
- 21% of the country’s cycads
- 37% of its conifers
- 30% of its orchid species
- 36% of Australia’s mammals
- 30% of its marsupials including tree kangaroos and possums
- 60% of its butterflies
- 48% of its bird species
- 25% of its frog and reptiles
- 37% of its freshwater fish
- 50% of the country’s bat species
The cassowary is just one of so many threatened species!
If you’re still wondering what this has to do with you, given that Australia is on the other side of the world and you may never get there to visit, think about this:
80% of the flowers in the australian rainforest are not found anywhere else in the world.
Still don’t care? They’re just flowers? Well, a large amount of the ingredients we use for modern medication come from rainforest plants. Imagine where we would be as a species without modern medicine, and imagine how far we still have to go. With plant and animal species becoming extinct, we not only lose diversity and beauty in our world, but we lose knowledge, and potential scientific and medical breaththroughs!
That’s why this Saturday, July 23rd, we are hosting a Spotlight on the Species for the Double-wattled Cassowary! We will be raising funds to help the C4 Foundation save precious rainforest habitat.
There will be numerous keeper chats throughout the bird area, Natural Encounters and the Reptile buidling highlighting Australian species, as well as an ostrich keeper chat at 11 AM!
Come to the cassowary exhibit for games, prizes and tons of fun! Just take a look at what we have planned for our guests!
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