Emus on the loose return home

Lesley Randall

For The Oglethorpe Echo

Striker and Sally, a pair of emu siblings, escaped from a ranch in Lexington on Jan. 17 — and were nowhere to be found for four days — except on the phones of Facebook users in the Oglethorpe County Community group. 

The duo belongs to the Mirandas, who live in Hoschton, but own property in Lexington. The family searched for days, even leaving fruit outside for the pair. 

They had almost lost hope until a neighbor, Cynthia Franklin, messaged them on Facebook that she had found the emus on her property. 

“A sweet lady that lived a few streets down from us actually took them in, fed them and made sure they were safe,” said Alexandria Miranda.

The two emus stayed together during their journey in Oglethorpe County, and social media was the key to bringing the large, flightless birds back home. 

Fabian Miranda, who is Alexandria’s father, said he was thrilled and shocked the community came together to help find them. In fact, it helped solidify the family’s plan to move to Oglethorpe County. 

“It made us even more excited to move up there knowing how great the community has been to us,” he said. “People are even messaging us to meet Sally and Striker.” 

The siblings are not the only emus who recently have gotten loose. 

Two emus were spotted roaming the county about a week after Striker and Sally were found. Their photos were again posted on Facebook to try to reach an owner. 

Kat Howkins, owner of Sweet Olive Farm Animal Rescue in Winterville, said it was a common trend for people to buy emus about four or five years ago. 

“They protect all of the chickens, roosters and ducks from things like foxes or coyotes,” Alexandria said.

Some may be concerned about a loose emu’s behavior or may wonder if the animal can be threatening to humans. 

“Emus are very friendly animals, and humans should not be afraid of them,” Howkins said.

Howkins added she is experienced in handling and taking care of emus. She caught a loose emu named Tuk Tuk that was roaming Oglethorpe County a few years ago. 

Others on social media were concerned about the emus’ health with the low temperatures last week. However, cold temperatures are not too much of a concern for the animal, Howkins said, as they have fat and multiple layers of feathers covering their skin.

If someone spots a loose emu and attempts to capture it, Howkins said it’s important to not lasso the emu, which could break its neck. 

Before Sally and Striker were found, Howkins said she planned to try and find them, too. She said she spent five hours capturing Tuk Tuk and was prepared to save the two from the wild and bring them to her farm. 

As Sally and Stiker approach their first birthdays in April and May, the Miranda family is thankful to have them back on their farm. 

“My dad has been wanting an emu for a very long time,” Alexandria said. “We finally were able to find some and they were siblings, and we couldn’t separate them, so we got them together.”