All last week a thick smoke haze filled the Johnstone River valley. The Defence Department lands at Cowley Beach are undergoing a ‘controlled burn’. This area at Cowley Beach is a ‘ hot spot’ for cassowaries. The forests consist of a mosaic of sand dune vegetation, mangroves and melaleuca swamp blending into rainforest, a favoured cassowary habitat. August is the prime month for cassowary breeding and over the last few weeks most male cassowaries have disappeared and are believed to be sitting on eggs. If by chance the birds escape the fire certainly the eggs cannot. Insult upon insult; cars, pig cages, dogs, loss of habitat and burning what hope do the cassowaries have?