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Cairns Tropical Zoo
Captain Cook Highway
Palm Cove, Cairns, Queensland

+61 7 4055 3669
+61 7 4059 1160

Cassowary Workshop

10th Aug 2011

A Cassowary Husbandry Workshop was arranged recently by James Biggs (Bird Department Supervisor) of Cairns Tropical Zoo and hosted by Dreamworld on the Gold Coast. The purpose of the workshop was to address some of the current issues facing the captive breeding program for the endangered Southern Cassowary and to further develop the Cassowary Husbandry Manual (last published in 1997 – Liz Romer, Ed.). The primary aim of the manual was to update and improve captive cassowary husbandry and management across the board.

Some of the issues discussed at the workshop included general husbandry, housing, handling, health, reproduction, behaviour, nutrition, artificial incubation and rearing, the use of cassowaries as a conservation tool and the status of wild and captive population genetics. A number of speculations about captive cassowary physiology and behaviour were resolved at the workshop and a few trends identified from studbook data that may assist in reinvigorating the breeding program.


Posted by John under Employees, Research, Zoo News | Permalink | Comments Off

Zoo helps venom research

4th Aug 2011

Cairns Tropical Zoo plays and integral part in life-saving research conducted by James Cook University (JCU). Each month, dedicated reptile keepers “milk” a variety of venomous species including taipans, brown snakes, black snakes and death adders.

The venom is passed on to JCU so that they can use it for a broad range of research work including blood clotting, studying the venom’s effect on the human heart and muscle cells, developing potential medicines and even learning more about the physiology of snakes!

Alex Mitchell (Featured in the photos below) is a very dedicated and passionate reptile keeper at the zoo. He maintains that there are a lot of benefits from these animals that people aren’t aware of.

During the “milking” process, each snake is encouraged to bite down on the rubber lid of a small vial while its head is massaged to yield small quantities of venom.


Posted by John under Employees, Reptiles, Research, Zoo News | Permalink | Comments Off

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