Cassowaries STILL Falling Victim to Roaming Dogs in FNQ.
18th August 2016, a young resident cassowary named Ruthie was shot with a tranquilizer gun loaded into a steel box and removed from her territory.
This was done by head Senior Wildlife Officer Alice Wardlaw EHP, despite community pleas and Indigenous elder Henry Epong's request that the cassowary remain on country.
What caused her to be removed?
One vexatious resident made a complaint to that Environmental Heritage and Protection Department that the cassowary had attacked his little dog. The community explained that the dog in question was always on the street harassing everyone walking or riding. It had been harassing wildlife including Ruthie on a regular basis.
On the 18th of August the unrestrained, roaming little dog was harassing Ruthie and Ruthie decided to defend herself. The community had not lodged a complaint about the dog, as it was little and owned by an old man. They wrongly thought no harm would come of it.
The owner of the dog, however, appears to have called the EHP to complain about the cassowary interacting with his dog. The EHP officer has come down to Coquette Point and tranquilised Ruthie and put her in a steel box in order to relocate her. This was even though community members who understood the dynamics of cassowary conservation and had a relationship with the cassowary, requested that she be allowed to remain, and the roaming dog be restrained.
It is well known that very few cassowaries survive relocation. They learn their territory from their father and they have territorial ranges. Furthermore they don't survive being anesthetized very well and they can bash themselves if awaking in a steel box.
The EHP had a responsibility to contact Council Local Law officers to control the roaming/ nuisance dog and NOT remove the young cassowary; certainly not to risk its life by drugging her and placing her in a steel box for transport to an unknown location.
I believe the EHP officer failed in their function to serve the community expectations and protect Ruthie, a member of a species that this year was placed on the 20/20 endangered species list.
This little endangered cassowary has a very slim chance of survival in a new habitat and surviving the drugging and regular shocking management decisions and practices of EHP Head Wildlife Officer.
What you can do to help:
1) Write to the Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews asking for a full investigation into EHP management and procedures and if they were followed in this instance.
2) Write to your local Council Animal Management asking them to do a dog audit, to enforce existing dog control laws and to increase education campaigns that ''If you own a Domestic Predatory Animal you are 100% responsible for it's actions.''
3) Report all roaming dogs.