Protecting Cassowaries from Predatory Domestic Animals

Ingrid Marker has lived adjacent to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area near Mission Beach for 25 years. In that time, a family of seven cassowaries became frequent visitors and made themselves at home on her property. Ingrid was lucky to witness the family have chicks and grow into mature birds with their own chicks, as they strutted around her home and garden over the years. Cassowaries are listed as endangered, and there are less than 1,400 in existence.

Two years ago, the unthinkable happened. Roaming domestic dogs tore through her home and over four months killed the family of cassowaries and all their chicks. After killing the cassowaries, the domestic dogs returned, broke through the fly-wire and tried to attack Ingrid within her own home. Two out of the pack of six dogs were caught in the National Park trap, but as they were collared they were returned by Council, without penalty to their owners. The other uncollared dogs were never caught. They all belonged to locals and were all allowed to roam at night becoming serial killers.

Ingrid has a Private Members Bill drafted, to deal with dogs such as these. Roaming hunting dogs were also responsible for seriously mauling Rasmussen man Paul Elliman just before Christmas. Ingrid has been campaigning across North Queensland, including meeting with farmers around Malanda, as well as delivering community presentations in Townsville in early February.

The aim of the proposed bill is not to remove people’s rights to own companion animals. Its aims are: to safeguard people’s rights to feel safe in an environment free from roaming PDAs and to protect native wildlife, domestic pets and livestock from escalating and dangerous attacks by these animals.

Ingrid states that the Bill will compel all councils to take action on roaming dogs and dogs lost while hunting; it will mandate responsible pet ownership, strong penalties for owners of habitual roaming dogs, compulsory desexing, and breeder licences for all people wishing to breed dogs and cats.

Ingrid has worked incredibly hard liaising with all levels of government and many other individuals and bodies. She has the support of the Commonwealth Threatened Species Commissioner and the Queensland Environment Minister. Now she is asking us all to spread the word and help build support for this Bill in the next few weeks.

What you can do:

  • Like and share her campaign Facebook page – Cassowary Keystone Conservation
  • Email your State MP urging stronger measures (Email addresses can be found here)
  • If you have a personal story of how you or your family may have been affected or of attacks on wildlife that you know of, please let Ingrid know. Such stories can make compelling evidence in support of the Bill.