Eats mainly fruits, arthropods, and small vertebrates
Hunting, habitat destruction
• The cassowary is Asia’s largest bird. It is a relative of the Australian emu, the African ostrich, and the South American nandu (or rhea). It is characterized by a “helmet.” The purpose of the helmet is unclear, and there are various opinions about this: some researchers claim that it serves as protection and for leveling the ground within the forest, while others claim that the horn is used to strengthen the deep sounds that the cassowary makes. There are also researchers who claim that within the species, it symbolizes the strength of the individual (for example, among females, the helmet is larger).
• The cassowary has large red fringes along its neck. The female lays three to five dark green eggs, generally two to three times per year. The male incubates the eggs himself for 49 – 61 days and cares for the chicks.
• Cassowaries are very dangerous, as their feet are equipped with long and sharp nails, which help the cassowary to protect itself from predators. In times of danger, the cassowary assaults with its leg extended forward and aimed at the center of its target. Therefore, treatment at the zoo is performed from a distance, and the keepers do not enter the exhibit with the cassowary.
• Cazzie the cassowary has lived at the zoo for years, known to many from his appearance in the film “Noah’s Ark Returns,” where he says “Will this be televised?” Cassie has lived for many years at the small lake and was brought over from the old zoo. Today, there is also a female cassowary called Yovava, who was brought over from the GanGuru.
• Females are larger than males, and they weigh between 40 and 70 kilograms, while males weigh between 29 and 35 kilograms. The horn on their head measures 13 – 17 centimeters. Their feathers are black, except for some colorful growth in the chest area, which is red. The head and neck are blue.
Photo Zohar Shemesh