WATCH: Tourist chased by cassowary at Cape Tribulation
A TOURIST has been filmed being chased along a Far Northern beach by a cassowary, apparently attracted to her colourful clothing.
Melbourne tourist Gautam Patel, 23, who visited Cape Tribulation, filmed the close encounter with the large, flightless bird on the beach last Tuesday.
While cassowaries appear on endangered species lists, the video suggests the female tourist the bird was chasing, could have been the threatened animal if she encountered the cassowary's dinosaur-like legs.
"The bird came out of nowhere," Mr Patel said.
"Everyone was excited, taking pictures and videos.
"But then the bird decided to chase this girl.
"Maybe it was attracted to her clothing."
The Department of Environment and Science advises visitors and locals to the Far North that cassowary behaviour is unpredictable, and the birds are capable of inflicting serious injuries to people and pets, by kicking with their large clawed feet.
A DES spokeswoman said people should never approach cassowaries, especially chicks, as the male of the species will defend them.
"If you come face-to-face with an aggressive bird, it's important to have some simple strategies to protect yourself," she said.
"If you encounter a southern cassowary, back away slowly and put something like a tree or a backpack between yourself and the bird, and let it go on its way."
Mr Patel, who had only learned about cassowaries that day during a visit to the Daintree Discovery Centre, said he was still amazed by the encounter.
"I'd never heard about these birds before," he said.