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Cassowaries, Seed Dispersers in the Lush Forests of Papua

by Senaman
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The abundance of different animal species is one of the advantages of Papua, which has many natural resources. Papua is known around the world as the home of many bird species. One of Papua’s endemic birds said to have survived from the time of the dinosaurs is the cassowaries.

Cassowaries are impressive looking with brightly colored feathers and large bodies, reaching 1.5-1.8 meters in height and weighing up to 70 kilograms. Although big and fat, cassowaries are very strong and fast, they can run at a speed of up to 50 kilometers and jump up to 1.5 meters.

Although they are called birds, cassowaries cannot fly like birds at all. One reason is that the cassowary’s body shape is so large that it has been named the second largest bird after the ostrich. Their black feathers make cassowaries appear camouflaged behind dense trees in the tropical rainforests of Papua. In addition to their desire to distance themselves from intruders such as humans, cassowaries choose to live in the forest because of their connection to forest sustainability.

Cassowaries are omnivores. Originally, this bird was known as grass, fruit and herbivore or herbivore. However, it turns out that cassowaries also eat animals such as snails and small fish. The food that cassowaries usually eat is fruit that has fallen from the tree. Here, the cassowaries acts as one of the animals that help preserve the tropical rainforests of Papua. Fallen fruits ripen or even tend to rot. The cassowaries eats the fruit and continues to walk through the forest, continuing to search for food. When full, the cassowary excretes feces. It turns out that the fruit droppings still contain seeds that have fallen off the plant. The seeds are therefore good nutrition as they undergo a digestive process in the cassowaries’s stomach and can germinate on their own if they fall to the ground. The process of plant regeneration in the forest also occurs due to the presence of cassowaries.

Cassowaries have become an integral part of the culture and mythology of Papua’s indigenous people. The cassowaries occupies an important place in the culture and traditions of the indigenous people of Papua. They are often used as symbols of strength and power in mythology and traditional ceremonies, reflecting the close relationship between humans and nature in Papua. Local residents consider cassowaries to be sacred and spiritual creatures, symbols of strength and good luck. Some Papuan tribes even have their own dances inspired by the movements and characteristics of the cassowaries bird.

The Papuans want to continue to preserve one of their endemic animals, namely the cassowaries. The role of cassowaries is quite important for the Papuan people. Starting with how cassowaries help spread plant seeds in the rainforests of Papua. Nevertheless, cassowaries are also closely associated with Papuan beliefs, culture and traditions.

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