Despite its unpopularity, the cassowary is one of the largest, flightless birds on the planet, and a rather remarkable looking one too. It's talons are shockingly long and sharp, something you would expect to see in a Jurassic Park movie and can easily rip a human's gut open if it so chooses.
Fortunately for us they are not aggressive by nature.
This, however, does not mean they will not attack, so please beware. This is still a wild bird, exercise caution.
In fact, during World War II American and Australian troops stationed in New Guinea were warned to steer clear of the notorious bird. In a book written in 1958, ornithologist Ernest Thomas Gilliard actually wrote
"The inner or second of the three toes is fitted with a long, straight, murderous nail which can sever an arm or eviscerate an abdomen with ease. There are many records of natives being killed by this bird."
In the past few years, since a category 5 cyclone destroyed the coast of Queensland back in 2011, there have been a large migration of cassowary which has given rise to a large number of sightings across Australia. Professionals say they are seeking out food, which is why they are now entering people's homes.
After removing one of these large birds from a local resident's home, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection explained that “It is always preferable to leave a cassowary in its home range, but in this instance the proximity to homes meant the risk of future attacks was considered unacceptably high."
In regards to violent encounters with the powerful bird, a study published in the Journal of Zoology found that out of the 150 known cassowary attacks on humans, 73 percent of them were actually the result of the bird's expectation of being fed. In one instance, someone actually died.
This is why Kate Jones, Queensland’s sustainability minister explained that;
“It's vital that members of the public don't feed cassowaries—for their own safety and in the interests of the birds’ survival long term,” . “Cassowaries that come to expect food from humans can become aggressive and dangerous.”
Some believe the Australian government is fear mongering, since the bird has less registered kills than cows. Still others believe the danger is very real, but admit that danger is the result of human meddling.
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