Timid emu has made the area around Doncaster, UK her home

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Ethel looking frightened

NEWS AND VIEWS AND UPDATE: Her name is Ethel, and she is an apparently wild but gentle emu who appears to have made the area around Doncaster in the north of England her home. She appears not to have an owner and has become a curiosity to the citizens of that area who should avoid her because this is a six-foot tall ground dwelling bird which if panicked could charge a person and hurt them. She is timid and there is great concern on social media for her welfare.

Aww poor thing hope the owner finds her soon xx

Ethel looking frightened

Ethel looking frightened. Photo in public domain.

The big question mark about Ethel is how she got there. She must have an owner surely? But nobody knows who the owner is if that person exists.

In the UK, it is legal to keep in emu bred in captivity as a pet. This must clearly add a complication because is it legal to have an emu wandering around the countryside in the north of England? It is probably legal but it is potentially dangerous and therefore the authorities have to do something about it but humanely.

Ethel is elusive and perpetually on the run. She has confounded efforts to capture her for five days. She’s been spotted running down the Trans-Pennine Trail in the Cusworth area. There have been attempts by the police to capture the bird. She can run at thirty miles an hour and has given them the slip.

Attending officers sought to contain the bird safely in a nearby field, but the emu ran off at speed – Spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police.

Ethel the emu

Ethel the emu. Photo: The Yorkshire Post.

A video (can’t find it) has been uploaded to Facebook showing the bird walking through a field with houses in the background. She is still in the Sprotbrough area and seems to favour a disused railway line. One person said that Ethel is a much loved family pet but her posts on social media has been deleted.

It has been speculated that a landowner, Rod Bloor, owned Ethel because he’d been known to keep emus in the past. However, he said that Ethel is not owned by anybody. He was concerned about gangs of people chasing the bird and causing problems. He says that the bird has been wandering around the Doncaster area for years.

Emus are gentle but can be dangerous when panicked and acting defensively. They are mainly found in Australia but are also present in the Philippines, Indonesia, the Solomon Islands and New Guinea. As mentioned they can run at thirty mph and grow to over six feet tall. They are omnivores feeding on fruit, seeds, plants and insects.

The biggest risk to Ethel is being killed on the roads. Clearly, road users would be also be under great risk as well in such a collision. It would be a tragic end.

Update

Ethel has made her way home after six days. She is owned by Kerry Dobson. Ethel was let out of her enclosure by builders apparently. Kerry has described Ethel as a “much-loved family pet”. That concludes the story of Ethel. I am delighted that she has been found and is back home.

Further update

A second emu is thought to be on the loose in the same area. Footage has been posted on social media showing a large bird wandering near Cusworth Park. They say it is a different emu. The question is whether the owner of Ethel had more than one emu which would be the obvious conclusion but this remains to be confirmed. It would be very surprising if another act of negligence along the same lines as the first had taken place. Perhaps it is Ethel and she has found a way to escape her compound.