Cassowary birds are very pretty to look at. Just take, for example, Bernie. This beautiful southern cassowary has long and wispy eyelashes, and his face is adorned with a very vibrant blue color. But please refrain from getting close. Why? Because he is the most dangerous bird on the entire planet.

When Bernie, aka Bernard, escaped from a temple where he had been kept captive for 10 years, he was taken in by Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand. His beak and eyes were severely wounded and he couldn’t even stand properly. But he was given proper treatment and he recovered fully. He now lives at the wildlife center and is provided with lots of room to forage and run around in.

cassowary-info

He is very friendly when you consider his species. Bernie shows no signs of hostility or violence, however, his caretakers are still very careful around him. WFFT wrote: “We are still extremely cautious of his strong legs and dagger-like claws.”

Cassowaries are frequently referred to as “living dinosaurs”. They have thick helmet-like plates on their foreheads and are known for their powerful legs that can run up to 30 miles per hour. They are also armed with four inch talons that resemble those of velociraptors. According to conservationists, cassowaries are one of the most direct relatives to prehistoric creatures.

Native to the rainforests of New Zealand and Australia, these birds are said to be the most dangerous birds in the world because of their talons. They normally avoid people, but they are nightmares when they feel threatened. They can’t fly; but to defend themselves, they can jump up to five feet high and will kick you with their sharply taloned feet. Adult females are larger than their male counterparts and can stand over six feet in height.

Most attacks by cassowaries on humans are a result of people getting too close to them for photos. Since they associate humans with food, they tend to get mad when they see a human that doesn’t feed them.

In 1926, a teenage boy was killed after trying to attack a bird. This was the only confirmed cassowary-related human death, however, the internet is full of videos that show the birds attacking human intruders. A tourist in Australia was kicked off a seven foot high waterside cliff by a cassowary in 2012. The bird was apparently furious because of a nearby photographer.

However, these birds face much bigger threats from humans that we do from them. Population of wild cassowaries in Australia is at a great risk because of development and human encroachment within their habitats. Rainforest Rescue, which funds the Save the Cassowary campaign, reports that the leading cause of death among cassowaries is road accidents.

“An increasing human population in the southern cassowary’s home has had a serious impact on these magnificent birds,” the group writes on its website. “Crossing roads puts cassowaries at risk of vehicle strikes, [and] roads can also increase the distance cassowaries must travel for fresh water and fruits.”

Cassowaries have a major role in the ecology of their tropical homes, dispersing seeds from the fruit they eat on the forest floor . This creates more plants for other creatures to feed on.

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