A cassowary has attacked and killed its 75-year-old owner after the man fell over on his property in Florida. The man is said to be a breeder of the exotic birds. Owners must also have "substantial experience" with the animals, the commission says.
"My understanding is that the gentleman was in the vicinity of the bird and at some point fell".
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For the time being it has been secluded on a private property, according to the sheriff office's spokesman Lt. Brett Rhodenizer, who called the clash between the man and the bird a "tragic accident".
Wildlife officials did not answer phone calls from The Associated Press and it could not be learned what happened to the bird.
Cassowaries are similar to emus and stand up to 1.8-meters tall and weigh up to 60kg with black body feathers and distinctive, bright blue heads and necks.
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Marvin Hajos died from injuries suffered in the freaky 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. It likely took the bird, which can run up to 31 miles per hour (50 kmph), mere seconds to close in on its prey and tear him into pieces. The birds are native to New Guinea and parts of Australia.
The birds are not native to the USA and are usually found in Papua New Guinea and Australia and are bred for collection, rather than food.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission classifies the cassowary among Class II wildlife, meaning they pose a threat to humans but can be owned with a permit.
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'We're looking to confirm our suspicions that this is a frightful accident for the man and his family, ' Lt. Lt. Brett Rhodenizer said, according to the Miami Herald.