Rare bird attacks and kills Florida man

Evarado Alatorre
Abril 16, 2019

As local ABC affiliate WCJB reports, law enforcement in Alachua County received a pair of frantic 911 calls claiming that a pet bird had attacked its elderly owner. At least two cassowaries were found on the property. The Alachua County Fire Rescue Department told the Gainesville Sun that a cassowary killed the man Friday on his property near Gainesville, likely using its long claws.

Officials said the death was an accident.

"My understanding is that the gentleman was in the vicinity of the bird and at some point fell".

According to reports, the man fell, and the cassowary "attacked him". "When he fell, he was attacked", Deputy Chief Jeff Taylor told the Gainesville Sun.

Marvin Hajos, a 75-year man who raised animals and exotic birds on his farm near Alachua, Florida, was killed on Friday by a cassowary, a large, flightless bird considered to be one of the world's most unsafe fowls.

A woman who identified herself as Hajos' fiancee told the publication that her partner was "doing what he loved".

This photo taken on August 23, 2017 shows a cassowary wandering about in New Guinea.

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Cassowaries are large, flightless birds known for a horn-like bump on the top of their heads, distinctive bright blue necks, and jet-black feathers.

The largest of these flightless birds, the southern cassowary, can measure between 4-5.6 feet in height. Males weigh up to 120 pounds. The flightless birds have a four-inch claw on each foot, which earned them the recognition of "world's most risky bird" from the San Diego Zoo.

Cassowaries are listed as a Class II species under the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's captive wildlife regulations and require a permit to own. It can slice open its predators with a swift kick, according to the San Diego Zoo website. Owners must also have "substantial experience" with the animals, the commission says.

Eric Slovak, assistant curator of birds at the National Zoo in Washington told The Washington Post: "If you were kicked by a cassowary with that nail, it would do a lot of damage to you".

The San Diego Zoo says that they're skilled swimmers, which helps them fend off threats.

"It's just kind of a big, 200-pound, six-foot bird roaming around eating fruit all day", Slovak explained, adding: "I would not understand why anyone would want to keep a cassowary as a pet".

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