By Destiny Givens
Woree carpenter, Wes Matterson, 23, has had an uncomfortable experience whilst walking on the blue arrow track at Aeroglen. Matterson was with his girlfriend, Elise Duggan when they encountered an adult cassowary. The bird was reportedly to be over six feet tall and extremely aggressive.
“Elise just legged it, she was out of there”, explained Matterson. “The big fella ignored her and chased me for a while and I ended up hiding behind a tree. Then the fucker kept poking his beak around trying to peck me and we ended up going in circles around the trunk. I reckon it would’ve been pretty fucking funny if I wasn’t shitting myself.”
Mr Matterson was relieved when the bird suddenly decided to re-enter the canopy. “I was planning to go all Mick Fanning on him when the flaky fucker just lost interest,” said Matterson. “As soon as he was gone I sprinted out of there.”
This is the first cassowary sighting in the Mount Whitfield area for more than five years. The birds had been thought to have been completely wiped out as result of dog attacks and other human activity.
Police have questioned Mr Matterson over the possibility that his encounter was somehow connected to the theft of some bird costumes from the Rondo theatre. Matterson scoffed at the suggestion. “No fucking way was that some joker in a fancy dress,” he said. “Not possible. He was shitting apples. That was an extreme bird.”
Rangers from Parks and Wildlife have erected warning signs at the entrance to the red- and blue-arrow walks. Their advice if encountering a cassowary is to “position an object, such as a backpack or branch, between yourself and the bird. If such an object is not available, a tree is the next best option. Otherwise, run like fuck.”