Large exotic bird kills an Alachua County man

14 April, 2019, 21:55 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Big flightless bird kills its owner after stumble in Florida

Marvin Hajos died from injuries suffered in the freakish attack by a cassowary, a flightless fowl with knife-like claws that can stand up to 6 feet tall and weigh more than 100 pounds, according to officials.

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

The bird was reportedly being kept at the property as a pet.

The cassowary, which is native to Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Australia, has been blamed for a vicious attack on its owner, a 75-year-old farmer named Marvin Hajos in Gainesville, Florida.

The Alachua County Fire Rescue Department said it appeared the man had fallen and was attacked by the bird with its long claws.

Police are investigating but say initial information suggests this was a "tragic accident".

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The victim, whose name was not released, was apparently breeding the birds, state wildlife officials said.

The can grow up to 6ft tall and are described by San Diego Zoo as the most unsafe bird in the world due to their "dagger-like claws". The cassowary remains on Hajos' property as authorities conduct an investigation into the attack, he said.

Southern cassowaries, the most well-known of the three cassowary species, can measure between 4 and 5.6 feet tall, with females weighing in at up to 167 pounds, according to the San Diego Zoo.

Cassowarys are not traded for meat in the United States but are kept by some collectors. It can run up to 31 miles per hour through dense underbrush, jump nearly 7 feet into the air and is a skilled swimmer, so it can deftly fend off threats, the zoo says.

To get the mandatory permit, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission requires cassowary owners to have "substantial experience" and meet specific cage requirements, spokeswoman Karen Parker said.

"The cassowary can slice open any predator or potential threat with a single swift kick".

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