Emu Leads California Police On Wild Chase

Emus wander down a road in an evacuated area at the edge of the Valley Fire o
David McNew / Getty Images

Near Madera, California, an emu led California Highway Patrol on a chase along Highway 99, and eventually, they managed to catch the flightless bird without any injury to people or the animal.

The Fresno Bee reported that police got a call that an emu was wandering along the highway, and when they tried to wrangle it, the bird gave chase.

CHP spokesman Gregorio Rodriguez said officers received a call shortly before 3 p.m. about an ostrich wandering on the right-hand shoulder of the freeway’s southbound lane. When officers arrived, they realized that it was not an ostrich, but rather an emu, much to their surprise.

“Yeah, it really was an emu, but he kept it on the shoulder the whole way until we got to the bottom of the off-ramp,” Rodriguez explained.

Two officers from the CHP managed to detain the emu with what is called a rabies pole until an officer from Madera County Animal Services arrived to take the bird into custody. It’s still not known whether the emu escaped from a farm in the area or got out of a vehicle that was traveling on the highway, but they are hoping someone claims it. Rodriguez says that they are hoping to find the owner.

Because the story had a happy ending, the public information officer had a bit of fun about the incident on the CHP social media pages.

“No you weren’t watching a live action Liberty Mutual commercial. This afternoon we were graced by the presence of an emu on the southbound lanes of the freeway.”

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While some wondered if it could be a wild emu wandering along the road, the simple answer is no, as emu are not native to the United States, but instead, come from Australia. Though the birds have wings, they don’t fly, but are still very strong, and can reach 120 pounds and top out at six-feet-tall. At full speed, the birds can reach up to 30 mph.

The Inquisitr reported that birds like emu, ostrich, and cassowary, which can all reach a substantial height, can kill a human. Earlier this year, a Florida man was killed when he fell inside his bird enclosure and was killed when attacked by a cassowary, which has legs with long, sharp talons.

“My understanding is that the gentleman was in the vicinity of the bird and at some point fell. When he fell, he was attacked,” Deputy Chief Jeff Taylor said.