This discussion was first published as part of the 2013 Red List update, but remains open for comment to enable reassessment in 2014.
Dwarf Cassowary Casuarius bennetti occurs in New Guinea (Papua [formerly Irian Jaya], Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) and, presumably as a long-established introduction, on New Britain. It is currently listed as Near Threatened, as it was thought to be declining moderately rapidly owing to hunting pressure and habitat degradation, thus approaching the thresholds for Vulnerable under criteria A2bd+3bd+4bd.
However, recent information suggests that hunting may not be driving as significant a decline as previously thought. It is said to be heavily hunted in some areas, yet not hunted at all in others, and in areas such as Mt Missim, where the species was heavily hunted in the past, the population is not thought to be in decline (B. Beehler in litt. 2012). Furthermore, there are fewer firearms in New Guinea compared to 30 years ago, and with many uninhabited areas remaining where this species is believed to be doing well, the current population is described as stable (B. Beehler in litt. 2012). If this is confirmed, the Dwarf Cassowary would qualify for downlising to Least Concern on the IUCN Red List as it would no longer approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the IUCN criteria.
Further information on population trends, global population size and the severity of hunting pressure within this species’s range would be welcomed.
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