Human impacts on two endemic cassowary species in Indonesian New Guinea

Jedediah F. Brodie, Margaretha Pangau-Adam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Cassowaries are important seed dispersers in tropical rainforests of New Guinea, but little is known about their population ecology or their responses to human disturbance. We used camera traps to measure the occurrence, local abundance, and activity patterns of northern cassowaries Casuarius unappendiculatus in lowland forests near Nimbokrang, Papua, and dwarf cassowaries Casuarius bennetti in the Arfak Mountains, West Papua. Our goals were to assess human impacts on cassowaries at multiple spatial scales and to measure their activity patterns over an elevational divide. At fine spatial scales local abundance of cassowaries was strongly reduced in areas frequented by humans. At larger spatial scales the distance to the nearest village or drivable road did not affect local abundance but altered the stage structure of the individuals detected, with a higher proportion of juveniles relative to adults. Local abundance of cassowaries was unrelated to site usage by introduced pigs. Both populations studied were strongly diurnal and their activity patterns were not significantly different. Efforts to control hunting remain critical to sustaining cassowaries and the seed dispersal services they provide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-360
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Activity patterns
  • Papua
  • bird conservation
  • climate change
  • exploitation
  • hunting
  • introduced species
  • ratite


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