Drivers beware: old man emu about

A PAIR of wandering emus stunned drivers as they plodded through rush-hour traffic on Dunheved Road in Werrington on Monday morning. The unexpected sight prompted several calls to the Featherdale Wildlife Park. It is believed the feathered friends escaped from a nearby reserve on the old ADI site.

Featherdale Wildlife Park operations manager Evan Harris said runaway emus were unlikely to be able to find their way back to the place from where they had escaped.

"Once they're out on the other side of fence, there's potential but with that amount of stimuli — vehicles, dogs, people — they're just in survival mode," he said.

"They might run along the fence looking for another hole but they wouldn't directly remember it and with that amount of stimuli on the outside, the chance of them going back to it isn't high."

While he couldn't be certain, Mr Harris speculated the emus would most likely have ended up in Werrington bushland or at the back of Werrington's industrial area. "They'd be stressed and running around looking for water, food and shelter because they're completely out of their environment," he said.

As emus can be rather volatile, Mr Harris said, the best thing for residents to do after spotting a roaming emu was to contact their local vet, WIRES or the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Emus aren't the only wildlife venturing into populated areas, with kangaroos also prone to hopping through Werrington territory.

Mr Harris said while it was a rare occurrence, kangaroos descended on local properties and streets because the grass was greener than that available in dry bushland.

He said if a driver hit a kangaroo it was best to "keep your distance and contact a party who can help them out".

"I suggest most of the time people don't get out because it might stress the kangaroo and if it does grab hold and latches on, you'll also have a human who needs first aid," he said.

"Suburban life meeting up with wildlife is nothing to panic about — in fact, it's something to enjoy.

"Many people travel all the way around the world to see a kangaroo so it's nice to see one locally — as long as we take it easy and don't push it, or panic."

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