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Emu on the loose in Southern Alberta captured in group effort

RCMP officer gives bird a 'great big bear hug' as emu is corralled southwest of Calgary.

An Australian bird was found roaming through Foothills County on June 19.

The emu, spotted at approximately 8:05 a.m. by several passersby, including Lonnie Moberly, was walking near a school with a slight limp.

"My kids were like, 'Is that an ostrich?''" said Moberly, who pulled over to help keep the emu away from passing vehicles.

"My neighbour Michelle, myself and another lady that had also pulled over to help us, we kind of walked him up the road a bit to get him away from the highway and we tried to get him into my my neighbour's place, but he kind of ran past it," she said.

After her neighbour brought a trailer to put the emu into, Moberly said the RCMP saw what was happening and pulled over to lend a hand.

"They managed to run after it and kind of run it up into the trailer, and when it wouldn't go in, the RCMP officer just kind of gave it a great big bear hug and popped it in the trailer."

Emus, the second-tallest living birds after ostriches, can reach around six feet tall and weigh up to 130 pounds.

"I'm just shocked that this police officer managed to get it in the trailer," said Moberly. "Fantastic emu wrangler. I don't think he expected to do that when he woke up this morning."

Emus are also armed with sharp claws that they use to defend themselves, making the feat an impressive one regardless of the bird's injury.

The bird was kept in the trailer and given grain and water until bylaw officers arrived around 10:30 a.m. to take the animal to a vet.

"We're not sure what happened before we got there, and they took it to a vet, so hopefully owners can be found soon," said Moberly.

No public information is available on domestic emus in Foothills County and surrounding area, although emu farming is widespread across Alberta and Canada.

Emus are farmed worldwide for meat, leather and oil; emu oil has been purported to be a dietary supplement that can help treat cancer, although there is little scientific evidence supporting this claim.

After the eventful morning, Moberly said she'll be on the lookout for more emus on the loose.

"It's so nice to see people come together just to help an animal out," she said. 

Amir Said

About the Author: Amir Said

Amir Said is a reporter and photographer with the Western Wheel covering local news in Okotoks and Foothills County. For story tips or questions about his articles, Amir can be reached at [email protected].
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