On Wednesday this week, respected Tully vet, Graham Lauridsen, was forced to euthanase a young adult Cassowary on the Atherton Tablelands, because the Palaszczuk Government has refused to allow the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre to accept adult birds.
Dr Lauridsen’s assessment of the Cassowary prior to it being sedated, was that the bird was very thin and had a mild limp. After sedation, Dr Lauridsen observed that despite being very thin and obviously weak, the bird was not suffering from any obvious injury, or disease.
Dr Lauridsen made it clear to the attending Rangers from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) that the Cassowary should be transferred to the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre, for care and observation. Dr Lauridsen was advised by the EHP Rangers that the Department would not allow the Centre to accept any adult birds.
The EHP Rangers also ruled out allowing a local wildlife carer to care for the Cassowary at their own property. The Cassowary was too weak to be left on its own, or relocated to a nearby National Park. With no other option available, EHP determined the bird had to be ethanased.
Last week, both Graham Lauridsen and I warned the Environment Minister, Steven Miles, that this exact situation would happen and I clearly said that the three month interim funding was nothing more than a panicked, band-aid solution that failed to address the real issues.
Yesterday, Minister Miles issued a statement to the media that contained a number of factual errors and also suggested that Dr Lauridsen had recommended that the Cassowary be ethanased – this is an entirely false and untruthful statement which Graham Lauridsen rejects completely.
Graham Lauridsen has made it very clear that he strongly recommended that the Cassowary receive further treatment and testing. The Rehabilitation Centre at Garners Beach was the ideal location for this to occur. There is no reason that this young adult bird could not be admitted.
A post-mortem conducted by Dr Lauridsen – considered one of Australia’s most experienced Cassowary veterinarians – after the bird had been euthanased, showed that other than having no fat reserves, there was no evidence of the bird suffering from any obvious disease, or injury.
The loss of this Cassowary was completely unnecessary. The responsibility for denying access to the Garners Beach Cassowary Rehabilitation Centre rests with the Senior Officers of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and ultimately the Minister, Steven Miles.
This ridiculous, unjustifiable policy should be immediately overturned by Minister Steven Miles.