Camera Traps across March 2021 accrued 43-cassowaries, 7-dingoes and 101-feral pigs.  Against the cumulative monthly average, cassowary numbers were 40% down, dingoes were 80% down and feral-pigs were 29% down.  Against March 2020, cassowaries were 38%-down, dingo numbers were 30% lower and feral-pigs had also decreased by 61%; however, 9 of the 12 camera traps failed to work for either half or all of the month because of technical faults so the drop in numbers is not disproportionate.

Image highlights from March

Cassowaries have been engaged in consistent courtship since January 2021.  Reunited with Leo from last season (as seen in the video below), Crinkle-Cut was last seen on 15 March 2021 and is now (hopefully) nesting.  Taiga has joined with Prudy to become a mated-pair, so hopefully he should retreat into incubating exclusion in about 4-weeks.  Last year, from the four male cassowaries that feature in these camera trap reports, only Crinkle-Cut managed to get Leo through to independence.

As a human inhabitant of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA), I am flabbergasted by the Centre for Invasive Species Solution’s 2014 case-study entitled Feral pig management in tropical rainforests of Queensland, which contends that feral pigs do not degrade rainforest dynamics!

The Daintree – Cape Tribulation Section of the WTWHA is the most irreplaceable portion of the second-most irreplaceable WH property in the world and the Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius johnsonii) is the most irreplaceable animal inhabitant.  Feral-pigs are federally-declared as a Key Threatening Process.  They are invasive and number in tens-of-thousands within the WTWHA and as many as 24-million nationally.  For the ecological importance of the Southern Cassowary, tens-of-thousands of invasive feral-pigs have competitively decimated the cassowary carrying capacity.  Feral pigs push nesting male cassowaries off their nests and devour their eggs.  They also attract pig-hunters, who illegally release pig-dogs (usually four at a time) into WTWHA rainforest.  On my 160-acre WTWHA property alone, we have lost over 60 cassowary chicks in the past 6-years and whilst some will have perished through native predation by dingoes & goshawks, the majority would have been killed by pig-dogs and pigs.  Feral-pigs also prevent Fan Palms (Licuala ramsayii) from succeeding, robbing the ancient rainforests of the most important contributor to the conversion of tropical cyclones from catastrophic liabilities into tremendous assets.  Each pig dredges 12-hours of every day in their relentless search for earthworms and other soil inhabitants.  The degradation of the root structure that gives structural integrity to the oldest rainforest in the world is undermined, but all of the disturbed soils are then flushed onto the Great Barrier Reef and between the tip of Cape York and Bundaberg, by an estimated 6-million pigs that reside within the coastal strip off the eastern flank of the Great Dividing Range.

Daintree Rainforest Foundation Ltd and its Daintree Rainforest Fund have been registered by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and successfully entered onto the Register of Environmental Organisations.  Donations made to the public fund are eligible for a tax deduction under the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

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