HomeOutdoorsNewsTwo Emus Captured in Ohio Town, While a Third is Still on the Run in a Separate Incident

Two Emus Captured in Ohio Town, While a Third is Still on the Run in a Separate Incident

by Amy Myers
Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images

Residents of Highland County, Ohio have been keeping close tabs as the local police department has corralled several loose emus in not one, but two separate incidents. The chaos has everyone asking, why are so many of these giant birds running through the streets of the Buckeye State?

As it turns out, more farmers and ranch owners keep these creatures as guardians for animals like goats and sheep. They act as a natural predator defense, so long as they stay within the enclosure.

Luckily, Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera reported that deputies, along with the help of the owner, were able to successfully capture two of the three loose birds and return them to their enclosure earlier this week.

The third, whose owner is unknown, has been on the lam since mid-November. Barrera hopes that the owner will come forward and “help out and get this thing captured and off the streets before it hurts somebody or gets hit by a car.”

Animal Experts Caution Against Locals Approaching Final Missing Emu

As Highland County Sheriff’s Office continues to scour the region for the final missing emu, experts, like Lori Orth of Dream to Reality Farm, a nonprofit animal rescue organization in Blanchester, caution locals to keep their distance from the creatures.

“Emus are very interesting creatures,” she told the Times-Gazette, but “they can also be very dangerous.”

Likewise, Barrera explained that locals should not underestimate the birds’ abilities.

“We don’t want anyone thinking it’s a big bird and they can capture it themselves, and they get hurt by trying to capture it,” Barrera said. “Because they have very powerful legs.”

After all, farmers enlist these creatures to help keep farm predators at bay.

“Their legs are very strong, and they have talons for claws on their feet, they can kick frontwards and backwards. They can fight off predators like coyote,” Orth said. “That’s why people need to be very careful — whoever tries to rescue this bird or get near the bird.”

Locals Find Ways to Commemorate the Emus

Naturally, the search for the three loose birds has garnered plenty of attention on social media, turning the animal control issue into a comical spectacle. Sightings of the birds have frequently surfaced on social media, which, ultimately, has helped authorities keep track of their movements.

Some locals have even found a way to profit from the fiasco.

According to Amy Sharp Schneider of Hillsboro Veterinary Clinic, her sister-in-law fashioned a graphic design of one of the emus and sold T-shirts.

“I thought all the excitement around the emu sightings was reminiscent of cryptids and local legends. I wanted to make something to commemorate him or her as Hillsboro’s Bigfoot. Or Big Bird,” the designer, Maddie Cupp said.

Schneider even started selling the shirts through her veterinary clinic.

“We’ve had several curious people contact our office about the emu, but much like everyone else, we do not know its owner and have only seen it in passing,” she said.