Feathers ruffled by theft of common emu

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A FULL-GROWN emu has been stolen from an Australian wildlife park, leaving police scratching their heads as to who would want to steal a relatively common bird with no cash value.

The robbers are thought to have lifted the flightless bird, second only to the ostrich in size and known for its speed, powerful kick and clawed feet, over a 7ft barbed wired fence, dodging a guard and a security camera. Police believe a getaway vehicle was parked about a half-a-mile away, next to a neighbouring railway line, said Chad Staples, senior curator at Featherdale Wildlife Park in Doonside, west of Sydney.

“It would have had to be carried the whole way and lifted over the fences twice,” he said yesterday. A grown emu can be more than 6ft tall and weigh roughly 80lb, or a little more than an adult Labrador dog. All that remained in the enclosure was a heap of feathers. A second emu was also in the enclosure, but it escaped the thieves with minor feather loss.

Mr Staples said he was mystified by the theft, the first of its kind. “Emus don’t really have a monetary value because of how common they are,” said Mr Staples. “It [the theft] was extremely targeted and it seems fairly well executed.”