Cassowary attacks, kills its owner in Florida

Deputies: Large bird attacked, killed its owner

Deputies: Large bird attacked, killed its owner

On Saturday, the Sheriff's Office identified the man as Marvin Hajos, 75.

The victim was breeding cassowaries - large, flightless birds native to Australia and New Guinea - on his property near Gainesville, Florida, when he met his death, authorities said.

A sign warning drivers to be aware of cassowary birds in Australia.

The man, whose name was not released, had sustained "serious injuries" and was transported to a local hospital, said Alachua County Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Jeff Taylor in an email.

"My understanding is that the gentleman was in the vicinity of the bird and at some point fell". They are similar to emus, standing up to 1.8 metres tall and growing to up to 60 kilograms with black body feathers and bright blue heads and necks.

The San Diego Zoo's website calls them the world's most risky bird with a four-inch (10-centimeter), dagger-like claw on each foot that can cut open people or predators.

"The cassowary can slice open any predator or potential threat with a single swift kick", the website says.

Cassowarys are not traded for meat in the U.S. but are kept by some collectors.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission consider cassowary a Class II species, which require a permit for ownership.

"Powerful legs help the cassowary run up to 31mph through the dense forest underbrush". She said the commission lists the cassowary as a type of wildlife that can "pose a danger to people".

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".

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