HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — The search is still on for an emu that’s been on the loose for around five weeks in Orange and Chatham counties.
According to Orange County Animal Control, the elusive bird, dubbed “Eno,” was spotted last Friday, Saturday and Sunday and is now believed to be in Hillsborough somewhere.
In the Sunday sighting, the emu actually jumped on the hood of a car and then sprinted off, officials said. Animal control and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol responded to the area of Old N.C. Highway 86 but the massive flightless bird had already moved on.
“It’s become a little bit of a sensation, the sightings,” Orange County Animal Services Communications Specialist Tenille Fox told CBS 17 earlier this month. “It’s been kind of an experience. I’ve never dealt with an emu on the loose before.”
“Not something you see every day,” Chapel Hill resident John Brennan told CBS 17 a few weeks ago. “I didn’t know what to make of it.”
It’s not the first time an emu has been on the run in a North Carolina neighborhood, but Brennan said it was his first run-in with the exotic bird.
Brennan said he was driving home from the library and he turned on to Damascus Church Road when traffic suddenly came to a stop.
“Then I saw a large bird come across the road,” said Brennan. “It was in the right side of the road and came towards a car. The car had slowed down. The emu fell down, got back up and then ran off into the woods.”
In Orange County, the birds are considered livestock and are legal to own.
“They’re mostly farms that have emus and of course we’ve contacted folks that we know that have emus in a farm setting and asked them if this is their emu and it is not so we still haven’t located the owner,” said Fox.
Fox’s message to those traveling in the area is simple: Don’t try to catch the bird. The emu can travel as fast as 30 mph and weigh as much as 100 pounds. Trapping such an animal will be difficult, she said.
“What we really need is for this emu to wander into an area that provides some sort of containment – such as natural barriers, a pasture, or some sort of fenced area,” she said. “If the emu is in an area like that, an animal control team can try to block the animal off even more and hopefully corral the animal without causing further stress. We worry about causing more stress in this heat.”
If you spot the elusive bird, you should call Orange County Animal Control at (919) 942-PETS (7387) Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. For emergencies, dial 911, and the dispatcher will relay the information to the on-call Animal Control Officer.