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Single Variable Equations from Verbal Models

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Where the Cassowary Roams
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Credit: Arjan Haverkamp
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajhaverkamp/2410252206/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

It’s one of the oddest birds on earth. It’s tall and doesn’t fly. It eats mainly rainforest fruits. Males raise the children, while females mate with multiple males. It is the cassowary, and it is endangered.

Losing Habitat, Gaining Bad Habits

Each male cassowary needs about 7 square miles of rainforest habitat to survive. Females share territory with males. About \frac{2}{3} of all cassowaries are male.  So, the amount of rainforest required to support a cassowary population of size p is approximately 7 \left(\frac{2}{3}p \right). The cassowary population of Australia has been shrinking because the rainforest is being destroyed. Subdivisions, farms, and roads carve up the jungle into tiny patches. The surviving cassowaries have trouble finding enough food to support themselves. They start wandering across roads and into neighborhoods. Cars hit them, dogs attack them, and these rare, bizarre birds die.

Credit: Tatiana Gerus
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62938898@N00/4594719839
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Residents of Queensland, Australia are trying to save the cassowary. Some are creating tracts of connected jungle so that the birds can maintain their jungle habitats. Others try to feed and care for the birds. Without cassowaries, the Australian rainforest is in peril. Many rare trees depend on the birds to spread their seeds. Australians will have to find a way to save this odd bird and its habitat.

See for yourself: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/the-magazine/the-magazine-latest/ngm-cassowary-dung/

Explore More

Visit the following website to learn more about the cassowary.

http://www.arkive.org/southern-cassowary/casuarius-casuarius/

If Australia is home to 2000 cassowaries, how many square miles of contiguous rainforest does it need to support them?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Arjan Haverkamp; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajhaverkamp/2410252206/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Tatiana Gerus; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62938898@N00/4594719839; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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