Is It a Dinosaur? Celebrate Australia Day by Helping Save Exotic Species

770003_61668665This Sunday, January 26, is Australia Day. It’s also known as National Day, and there are events around the entire country.

In honor of Australia Day, I want to bring attention to the plight of the Cassowary and efforts to try and save this prehistoric-looking giant bird from extinction. The vivid blue hue of its face, the ridged crown, the extremely powerful (and dangerous) clawed feet, are iconic in the nation. I’ve only ever seen them in captivity and they are outstanding and fascinating. Part ostrich or emu, part Jurassic Park escapee, they are only native to the wet tropics of Queensland, and the Daintree Rainforest, a truly stunning region that is being gobbled up by developers. Who wouldn’t want to live here with the lush rainforest and easy access to the beach and Great Barrier Reef all in one spot? Of course, to build homes, as is happening too quickly, you decimate the very things that make the area so appealing. This Rainforest Rescue project is buying back parcels of land and planting tens of thousands of  trees to restore the threatened bird’s habitat. There is also a rehab center that rescues, rehabilitates, and releases back to the wild, injured cassowaries. Estimates are that there are only about 1,000 of these astounding avians remaining in the wild, and their loss, like the extinction of any species, throws the entire bio balance off kilter. Help stop this particular expression of the march of progress. Progressing into a stripped planet is no way to go forward.

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