Cassowary at Jurong Bird Park, Singapore
Imagine yourself face to face with a strange unique bird like this, a Cassowary as you are taking your nature walk in a jungle, what would you do? I dread such a happening. My palpitations increased as I saw a Cassowary even though it was at safe distance, within a strong enclosure in Jurong Bird Park, Singapore. The bird has a prehistoric look, very scary. The sharp curious look it had for me is clearly etched in mind. It looked at me this way, then that way. I could sense a feeling of inquisitiveness it had for my long black nose, my zoom lens. At one point of time, it turned away its face from me.
Its horny helmet, called a casque, on its head was most fascinating. It’s an odd structure, neither horn nor bone; it has a hard covering but is spongy inside and somewhat flexible overall, I read. I wanted to capture its form and shape. Stalking it was impossible and all I could do then was wait patiently to get that in frame. This helmet helps the cassowary crash its way through the thick growths of the jungle and get away from its enemies. Its two long red wattles hanging down from its neck looked interesting and made it look attractive.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Cassowaries are the world’s most dangerous birds, capable of dealing fatal blows. They can grow to over six and a half feet tall. An adult will weigh over 100pounds. They can run at speeds of over thirty miles per hour! They have sharp claws – 3 of them – in each foot. The dagger-like claw grows up to five-inches long. I am sure the bird keepers of Jurong Bird Park must be having tough time looking after these birds.
The last person known to have been killed by a cassowary was 16-year-old Phillip McLean, whose throat was punctured on his Queensland ranch in 1926. There have been plenty of close calls since: people have had ribs broken, legs cracked and flesh gashed. If you happen to meet a Cassowary in the wild and he/she happens to take a dislike towards you, then be sure you are the second person to die at the feet of a Cassowary after 1926!
3 best defence against an angry Cassowary
- Keep something in front of you
- Go behind a tree
- Raise your arms to look taller
So? Which is your best self defence?