The first episode of Sir David Attenborough’s new series commenced in the heart of the world’s longest surviving rainforest. Here, Big Bertha, Grand Dame of Cassowaries, reigns supreme. She is almost 2-metres in height when she pumps herself up to her full height to impress or to defend her domain.
The vision of stately old-growth rainforest of an extremely rare type of complex mesophyll forest with fan palms (Licuala ramsayi) brings unique footage that is displayed on the screen at the beginning of the series. Such impressive grandeur is rarely seen by the public gaze.
It has long been my wish to guide David Attenborough into the Fan Palm Cathedral as an appropriate “thank you” from four generations of my family who have enjoyed and learned from his marvellous filming and presentation of Nature on television and screen. His photographers have experienced the wonder in filming for an earlier documentary on Strangler figs.
Unlike Mahomed, who had to go to the mountain, Sir David Attenborough has had the rainforest delivered to him by The Natural History Unit Directors and Cameramen, Daniel Hunter and Ed Saltau. It is now in the public domain, a part of the first episode, Australia; Seven Worlds, One Planet and a reminder that global treasures must be conserved and protected if they are to survive.
Big Bertha has starred in a number of documentaries on the world Stage. In National Geographic ‘s “Australia’s Big Bird” a multi-page feature article managed to film big Bertha and her partner Crinkle Cut, in a pre-mating bath in Cooper Creek. Photo journalist, Christian Zeigler was awarded Photo Journalist of the Year for Nature with an amazing shot of a cassowary feeding on blue quandongs. Christian’s primary focus was on cassowaries, but he did note that “feral pigs are a problem.”
David Attenborough’s, “Seven Worlds, One Planet, Australia” demonstrates the irreplaceable role of cassowaries as a keystone species in the dispersal of seeds throughout the rainforest. The documentary doesn’t pull any punches. Aided by camera traps, Dan and Ed were able to show extensive damage and the enormity of non-native competition of feral pigs that have become the greatest threat to the rainforest and to the endangered southern cassowary: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p07v1xhh
We are proud to announce that Daintree Rainforest Pty Ltd has published a book, “A Stray Liana” written by Neil Hewett that expands on the natural values of the Daintree Rainforest through the eyes of the custodial landholder, with more than 200 full page coloured photographs and detailed information. It is the first report of World Heritage listing of freehold land in Australia’s Wet Tropics and our contribution to its successful containment and conservation. It can be purchased on line: https://astrayliana.com.au/