Search effort for runaway emu ends in somber rescue

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FREDRICK, Md. (WDVM) — The search for a runaway emu from a Frederick farm ended in a somber rescue effort. 

After several hours of searching Sunday, owner Karin Walden was able to spot Emmy the Emu in a wooded area about a mile from Walden Line Farm. Walden says that with the help of neighbors, Emmy was captured and transferred back home to the farm after about a month on the run. Walden shared that shortly after her return, Emmy passed away.

“Sometimes with these birds, they get so stressed they just go into shock and it’s just too much for their system,” Walden explained. “It’s very heartbreaking, but she is home and she will forever have a resting place on our farm.”

Walden raised four emus on the farm, including Emmy, since they were chicks. The three other emus were re-homed this past summer.

Several neighbors joined the rescue effort through social media, posting sightings of the emus, which Walden collected to form a map of Emmy’s travels. 

“They were really pulling for Emmy to find her way home and to have a good outcome. People who have never seen an emu, who didn’t even know what it was, they were right along with me, cheering me on and trying to get her by looking all over the neighborhood,” Walden explained. 

Walden posted on Facebook about Emmy’s passing. More than 100 people reacted to the post, and more than 60 commented, many with condolences. 

In the end, Walden says the experience of raising the emus and the search for Emmy has proved that wild animals require significant attention and handling. 

“We did our best to provide for her and to keep her safe but things happen because they’re wild animals,” Walden said. “I just caution people that if they do want to get animals like this, to research and educate themselves and to be prepared.”

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