A Cassowary Kills its Owner on his Property near Gainesville – Florida Daily Post

A Cassowary Kills its Owner on his Property near Gainesville - Florida Daily Post

Big flightless bird kills its owner after stumble in Florida

FILE – In this June 30, 2015, file photo, an endangered cassowary roams in the Daintree National Forest, Australia. On Friday, April 12, 2019, a cassowary, a large, flightless bird native to Australia and New Guinea, killed its owner when it attacked him after he fell on his property near Gainesville, Fla. Cassowaries are similar to emus and stand up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall and weigh up to 130 pounds (59 kilograms). (AP Photo/Wilson Ring, File)

A large, flightless bird, similar to an emu and native to both Australia and New Guinea, killed its owner when the man fell down on his property in Florida, authorities said Saturday.

A cassowary is a 6-foot-tall flightless bird native to Australia and New Guinea. It has been called the worlds most dangerous bird, due to its 4-inch dagger-like claws and incredibly strong legs.

Large bird attacks and kills its fallen owner in Florida

According to The Associated Press, the Alachua County Fire Rescue Department told The Gainesville Sun that a cassowary killed the man Friday on land near Gainesville, likely using its exceedingly long claws. The victim's name was not released, but reports said he was apparently breeding the animals.

Lieutenant Brett Rhodenizer with the Alachua County Sheriffs Office says at this time, it seems the attack was a tragic accident. However, the investigation is ongoing.

"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 paper, according to AP.

Cassowaries are similar to emus and stand up to six feet tall, weigh as much as 130 pounds and have bright blue heads and necks. But that's not all that makes them distinctive.

According to the San Diego Zoo's website, cassowaries are the world's most dangerous bird, boasting a four-inch 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," AP quoted the website as explaining.

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, whose name was not released, was apparently breeding the birds, state wildlife officials said.

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office said Marvin Hajos owned the flightless bird, called a cassowary. The sheriffs office called Hajos death a “tragic accident,” according to the Gainesville Sun. A woman who told the paper she was Hajos fiancee said he was “doing what he loved.”

“It looks like it was accidental. 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.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission classifies the bird as Class II wildlife, meaning the animal poses a significant danger to humans. Other Class II wildlife include alligators, dwarf crocodiles, cloud leopards, howler monkeys, and wolverines. Owners must hold a Class II permit to own the animals.

Cassowaries are similar to emus and stand up to 6 feet tall and weigh up to 130 pounds, with black body feathers and bright blue heads and necks.

The San Diego Zoos website calls cassowaries the worlds most dangerous bird with a four-inch, 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 through the dense forest underbrush,” the website says.

To obtain the 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.

Wildlife officials did not answer phone calls late Saturday from The Associated Press and it could not be learned what happened to the bird.


Posted in Gainesville