Ever since its inception in 2014, World Cassowary Day has been observed on September 26 in order to raise awareness these unique and quite dinosaur-like ratites with a particular focus on their vital ecological importance and the threats they are currently facing. Native to the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia and the northwestern region of Australia, the three extant cassowary species have a vital role within their ecosystems as they contribute to vegetation growth by spreading the seeds of the fruits they eat. Interestingly, cassowaries are the only ratites that have adapted to forest environments.
Found in no more than 3 zoos in Hungary, including the Debrecen Zoo, the Southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) is the second heaviest, third tallest and arguably one of the most dangerous birds on Earth. Although generally wary of humans, it is easily provoked and can cause severe injuries with its beak, claws and keratinous “casque” – the latter also serving as a tool for battering through undergrowth. Threatened primarily by habitat destruction due to agricultural and industrial activity, dog attacks, and car strikes, this species is now included in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Debrecen Zoo and Amusement Park