April 19, 2019

Deputies: Large bird attacked, killed its owner

15 April 2019, 07:55 | Devin Moran

Big flightless bird kills its owner after stumble in Florida

Deputies: Large bird attacked, killed its owner

They're not usually found in the U.S., but they are sought out by exotic animal lovers and do require a permit to own.

The owner was a breeder of the rare bird that is native to Australia and New Guinea, Alachua County Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Taylor said.

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

Wildlife officials did not answer phone calls from The Associated Press and it could not be learned what happened to the bird. It appears the man fell, and the cassowary attacked him after the fall, Taylor said.

He was taken to hospital where he later died.

On Saturday, the Sheriff's Office identified the man as Marvin Hajos, 75.

"Initial information indicates that this was a tragic accident for Mr Hajos", sheriff's office spokesman Lieutenant Brett Rhodenizer said.

The cassowary remains on Hajos' property as authorities conduct an investigation into the attack, he said.

According to the San Diego Zoo, the Cassowary is the "world's most unsafe bird", with a 4-inch dagger-like claw on each foot.

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.

The birds are not native to the U.S. and are usually found in Papua New Guinea and Australia and are bred for collection, rather than food.

"Powerful legs help the cassowary run up to 31mph through the dense forest underbrush".

Their long claws "can slice open any predator or potential threat with a single swift kick".

"Substantial experience and specific cage requirements must be met" for a permit to be issued for handling these types of animals, FWC spokeswoman Karen Parker said.

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