The southern cassowary is important to our rainforests, because it spreads native tree seeds in its poo.
This massive bird lives only in Australia, in the north coast rainforests between Townsville and the Daintree, with Mission Beach one of the most likely places for people to see a cassowary in the wild.
The southern cassowary is a keystone ecological species. If we can save the cassowary, then it means we can save other important Australian wildlife. Experts think there are only about 2000-4000 left in the wild, saying they have become endangered because we have been clearing their land for farming and houses. They are being killed at an alarming rate crossing our roads and by our dogs while they're out looking for food.
It would be very sad to lose the cassowary. Apart from helping our environment, this giant bird is a memorable sight. It's an impressive size, combined with its black plumage, blue and red neck and wattles and a distinctive 'horn' (casque) on its head. It was a gift that kings and emperors were given hundreds of years ago as a sign of great wealth.
Paul Webster, the founder of World Cassowary Day, said "Cassowaries are on the brink of extinction. But if more people know about them, the threat of extinction can be pushed back." You could do your bit to spread the word about these beautiful birds by talking about cassowaries at school and at home, so that more people would realise what they are. Or, you could run a poster competition like this one.
Check out the C4 website and see some great photos of these dinosaur like birds. While you're there, see what they have to say about helping cassowaries.