|Community Collaboration for Cassowaries|
|From Kathryn Dryden|
In an innovative approach, three community groups have collectively applied for a Community Action Grant of $20,000 to expand their understanding of cassowary populations and movement corridors in Kuranda, Daintree and Mission Beach. They seek to improve their monitoring capacity and increase community engagement at regional scale.
Until now, the three groups (Mission Beach Cassowaries, Kuranda Conservation Community Nursery, and the Daintree Region Cassowary Group), have all been working within their respective communities to identify individual birds and track their movements. This helps improve management techniques for cassowaries and raise awareness about threats to the birds within their communities. They have used photographic records of sightings, DNA testing of scats, involved tourists to report sightings, created Facebook pages and websites, and spent hours of work populating databases. All of these approaches help the groups better understand cassowary movement corridors and report back to the Cassowary Recovery Team coordinated by the Wet Tropics Management Authority (WTMA).
Image: Typical photo contributed by Facebook member at Mission Beach clearly allowing identification of a young bird. Records like this will help confirm threats to cassowaries in the area. (Photo by Trish Moore, taken from Facebook)
Terrain and CSIRO have been involved in shaping the project to address objectives in the Mission Beach Habitat Network Action Plan as well as the Recovery plan for the southern cassowary (Latch, 2007).
The groups seek to engage key community members to deliver community awareness and information sharing workshops for each area and to improve data collection and recording methods. They anticipate that around 60 community members (farmers, tourism operators, small land managers, TOs, residents) and the WTMA Cassowary Recovery Team will be involved.
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