Emmanuel the Viral Emu Still ‘Fighting for His Life’ After Bird Flu Hits Farm

by Craig Garrett
Australian Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) - stock photo

Emmanuel, the emu famous for mischievously knocking over farmer Taylor Blake’s cameras mid-video on TikTok, has come down with the avian flu. Blake took to Twitter on October 15th to give fans the news. “I will do anything and go into any amount of debt to save his life,” Blake wrote. “He is a fighter and I wholeheartedly believe he is going to make a full recovery.” Blake believes that the birds at Knuckle Bump Farms, a South Florida hobby farm, caught an infection from flocks of hibernating geese.

The virus cut through the farm. “We lost every single chicken and duck on our farm. We lost all of our geese,” she tweeted. Blake says the farm lost over 50 birds in 3 days.“I am still trying to wrap my head around it.”

Sometime overnight Wednesday, Oct. 12, Emmanuel went down, as Blake wrote. With constant care and attention, he seems to be recovering but has sustained some nerve damage. To give Emmanuel some physical therapy, Blake and her girlfriend built an impromptu sling. However, she mentioned Saturday that he still isn’t eating or drinking autonomously.“I know that Emmanuel Todd Lopez will make a full recovery and will continue to spread love, light and joy,” Blake wrote. Emmanuel went viral this past summer with posts on social media like the one below.

@knucklebumpfarms He knew I meant business when I whipped out his government name 😩🤣 #emmanueltheemu #emmanueldontdoit #emmanuel #emu #animalsagainsteducation ♬ original sound – Knuckle Bump Farms

Emmanuel the emu is on the mend, but still in serious condition

Blake showed gratitude to her girlfriend and Emmanuel’s fans for standing by him, mentioning that he still requires constant care. “My best friend is fighting for his life, and I’m just doing my absolute best not to crumble into a million pieces,” she tweeted. Blake later said that Emmanuel drank water unaided for the first time and had a visit from an avian specialist who was “very impressed” by his health and temperament.

Emmanuel is still receiving fluids and being fed by hand. “One day at a time, Emmanuel will be healed,” Blake wrote on Twitter. She said the specialist’s visit gave her “peace of mind that I haven’t had since this started.” On Monday, October 17th, Bindi Irwin responded to Blake’s request for help. She explained that her Australian wildlife team has never treated a case of avian flu.

“Our hearts are with you and we appreciate that you care so deeply and have such compassion for darling Emmanuel,” Irwin tweeted. In a separate Twitter thread, Blake addressed worries over the potential transmission of avian flu, noting that Emmanuel is cut off from other humans and animals. She said she’s adhering to all recommended federal safety measures, except for wearing a face mask–which causes him distress. Emmanuel became an internet sensation during the summer due to a series of videos on TikTok. In these videos, Emmanuel (an emu) kept toppling over Blake’s camera as she was attempting to film clips about farm life, The State reported.