Reconnecting Cassowary Habitat

How business, community and conservation are saving a national treasure

Simon Mustoe

Simon Mustoe

Writer, photographer and founder of Wildiaries

New Zealand had the moa, an extinct flightless bird that stood 3.6m high. Madagascar’s elephant bird was similar. South America still has its rheas, Africa its ostriches but Australasia has its emus and cassowaries.

Being custodians of jungle megafauna is a privilege few countries have. Australia’s remaining cassowaries, with their thunderous calls and heavy feet, are a national treasure but threatened most of all by cars and domestic dogs. So much for the spear-like claw that’s supposed to be able to eviscerate predators.

Cassowary: danikancil iStock photo ID:492641872

In June 2020, the grandmother of Mission Beach cassowaries, Mrs C, was struck by a vehicle and killed. Mission Beach has the highest density of birds in Australia but with as few as 100 left, cassowaries cannot survive here much longer.

Vehicles and dogs are a symptom of increasing habitat fragmentation, where forests are cut in half by roads and new housing estates built. One way to improve this, is to reconnect forests, so birds can walk safely between patches. Hidden among the dense forest foliage is the cassowary’s natural safe place.

Gurrum Reserve Project

Gurrbum Reserve is a missing link in the cassowary corridor between Japoon National Park and Walter Hill Conservation Park. With the help of C4, Terrain, Brettacorp, Greenfleet and a grant from the Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Trust For Nature has is able to fund the site’s revegetation, connecting these two forests back together.

One of the unique features of this development is a vegetated land bridge across the highway, because this will give the Mission Beach birds, safe passage to recolonise even further to the west, into the Atherton Tablelands. Presently, the Bruce Highway prevents them from safely moving.

Projects like this, strategically located, not only have the potential to recreate vital habitat and capture carbon, they reconnect World Heritage habitat for birds like cassowaries. Without cassowaries, the forests won’t regenerate and the landscape won’t be as productive for future generations of Queenslanders.

This is one of many examples where business, conservationists and government can come together and make a big impression on livelihoods and Australia’s sustainability long into the future.

Read more about the project here

About the Author
Simon Mustoe

Simon Mustoe

Writer, photographer and founder of Wildiaries

Simon is CEO of DeluxeLife. He is also an ardent conservationist and has been studying and observing wildlife for over 40 years. He's written a book called Wildlife in the Balance. He loves taking his worldwide travel experience to help people discover new and exciting places to visit,as well as contributing to science and conservation.

Please send me the BROCHURE for the "Ultimate Deluxe Reef to Rainforest Culture, Food & Wildlife" tour. Downloading, activates our $100 flight voucher for your next booking.


  • 100% guaranteed COVID-forced cancellation up to 24h before travel.
  • All payments held securely until 24h before travel (for immediate refund).
  • Single set of T&Cs, simply explained. 


WHEN 8 days, 5 – 12 May 2021 ex Cairns

PRICE from $6,695 pp twin share ($1,240 solo suppl.)

This tour includes all listed accommodation and experiences and most meals. See online for details and enquire about our COVID and payment policies.

If you'd like information on alternative self-drive, semi-guided or budget tours, check out our Wet Tropics page


More Inspiration

Find your own inspiration at Wakatobi Luxury Resort


Meet artist and designer Kate Padget-Koh

February 2023 - Luxury Resort Wakatobi


A luxury & tailored experience like no other, ex-Bali

Wakatobi Luxury Resort, Getting there


A private charter flight from Bali gets you there by lunch

About Luxury Resort Near Bali, Wakatobi

Enjoy fine-dining, spectacular sea views and unprecedented access to beautiful protected reefs.

FREE tickets to the Underwater Tour LIVE ONLINE, 23 May 2021


Join esteemed guests Dr Richard Smith, Aaron Wong and Janet Lanyon for a night about the ocean

How is the Water


The ultimate ocean experience

Nemo by Blu3


Battery-powered tankless snorkel-dive system

Totally Turtle on Heron Island


Simon Mustoe describes his top snorkelling destination in the world!

Podcast: How Aboriginal people made the most successful ecosystems


The success of our species and the history of what we commonly consider “civilisation” isn’t what we think it is.