A 75-year-old Florida man, Marvin Hajos, was attacked and killed by a rare species of bird, the cassowary. Hajos made the initial 911 call before being found and transported to a nearby hospital. He later died.
Hajos was a breeder of the rare bird native to Australia and New Guinea, Alachua County Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Taylor said to CNN. It reports:
The cassowary is a “large, flightless bird most closely related to the emu,” according to the San Diego Zoo. It can run up to 31 mph through dense underbrush, jump almost 7 feet into the air and is a skilled swimmer, so it can deftly fend off threats, the zoo says.
They can grow more than 5 feet tall and the heaviest females can weigh more than 160 pounds, the zoo says. Males weigh up to 120 pounds.
“The cassowary is rightfully considered the most dangerous bird in the world!” the zoo says. “Each 3-toed foot has a dagger-like claw on the inner toe that is up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) long! The cassowary can slice open any predator or potential threat with a single swift kick.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission considers cassowary birds to be Class II wildlife along with alligators and leopards, meaning they pose a high-level of danger to humans. Class I wildlife includes animals that are more fiercely stalking predators like lions and bears.
Hajos’ death comes after another killing by wildlife made recent news headlines. On April 7th news reports surfaced that an illegal poacher in South Africa was trampled by elephants then eaten by lions. Only his skull and a pair of torn pants were recovered from the gruesome scene.
According to CNN authorities are ruling Hajos’ death as an accident. It appears the man fell then called 911 and the bird attacked him afterwards. A second call came from another person at the scene who reported an emergency involving a large bird, said Lt. Joshua Crews of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.
The cassowary remains on Hajos’ property as authorities conduct an investigation into the attack.