Florida Man Meets Tragic Death After Being Killed by Rare Cassowary Bird

Photo: danikancil/iStock

A 75-year-old Florida man, Marvin Hajos, was attacked and killed by a rare species of bird, the cassowary. Hajos, a breeder, was apparently attacked by the bird after he fell in his backyard. Two 911 calls were made—the first by Hajos himself, and then a second by someone who found him. Hajos was taken to a hospital but later died.

CNN 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.”

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According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, cassowary birds, which are found in Australia and New Guinea, are Class II wildlife—a category that also includes bobcats, ostriches, alligators and other animals that “pose a danger to people.” The most dangerous animals—Class I wildlife—include lions, baboons and hyenas.

According to CNN, authorities say Hajos’ death was an accident, but the bird is still on the breeder’s property as police investigate the incident.

Hajos’ death comes after another killing by wildlife made recent news headlines. On April 7, 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.

Correction: Sept. 22, 2019, 2:54 p.m. ET: This story has been edited to remove unattributed text and to add fuller sourcing.

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