April 14, 2019– Mary Greeley News – It does look like something from Jurassic Park. And this bird turned out just as deadly.
Alachua, Fla. – A large, flightless bird native to Australia and New Guinea attacked and killed its owner when the man fell on his farm in Florida, authorities said Saturday.
The Alachua County Fire Rescue Department told the Gainesville Sun that a cassowary killed the man Friday on the property near Gainesville, likely using its long claws. The victim was apparently breeding the birds, state wildlife officials said.
“My understanding is that the gentleman was in the vicinity of the bird and at some point, fell. When he fell, he was attacked,” Deputy Chief Jeff Taylor told the newspaper. He said first responders got a call at 10 a.m. Friday and rushed the man to a hospital for trauma care but he died.
The county sheriff’s office identified the victim as Marvin Hajos, 75.
“Initial information indicates that this was a tragic accident for Mr. Hajos,” said Lt. Brett Rhodenizer, a sheriff’s office spokesman, in an email to the paper. “The cassowary involved remains secured on private property at this time.”
Cassowaries are like emus and stand up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall and weigh up to 130 pounds (60 kilograms), with black body feathers and distinctive, bright blue heads and necks.
The San Diego Zoo’s website calls the cassowary the world’s most dangerous bird with a four-inch (10-centimeter), dagger-like claw on each foot.
“The cassowary can slice open any predator or potential threat with a single swift kick. Powerful legs help the cassowary run up to 31 miles per hour (50 kph) through the dense forest underbrush,” the website says.
It can even swim and jump up to 7 feet!
Cassowaries are eaten in parts of New Guinea. The birds are not raised for food in the U.S., but are sought after by collectors of exotic birds, according to authorities.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission considers cassowaries Class II wildlife, means they pose a danger to humans and are subject to specific cage requirements. Owners must also have “substantial experience” with the animals, the commission says.
Class II is the same category as alligators, honey badgers and clouded leopards, while Class I includes more traditional predators such as a lions, tigers and bears.
To obtain a mandatory permit, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission requires cassowary owners to have “substantial experience” and meet specific cage requirements, spokeswoman Karen Parker told the newspaper. She said the commission lists the cassowary as a type of wildlife that can “pose a danger to people.”
They can grow more than 5 feet tall and the heaviest females can weigh more than 160 pounds, the zoo says. Males weigh up to 120 pounds.
“The cassowary is rightfully considered the most dangerous bird in the world!” the zoo says. “Each 3-toed foot has a dagger-like claw on the inner toe that is up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) long! The cassowary can slice open any predator or potential threat with a single swift kick.”
credit: In part with https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/nation/2019/04/13/large-bird-attacks-kills-owner/39342529/