SYDNEY – (AFP) – Keepers at an Australian wildlife park said they were concerned and baffled at the theft of an emu in a night raid, saying it would be frightened and possibly injured.
The tall female bird was discovered missing from Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney’s western suburbs early Tuesday. Her enclosure contained a large quantity of feathers, indicating a struggle.
“It looks like the emu may have sustained injuries during the theft,” park curator Chad Staples said in a statement.
“The theft and injuries sustained would have been traumatic enough but if the animal is still alive, it will be feeling additional stress being in an unfamiliar environment.”
Police are investigating the theft of the native flightless bird, which park workers believe was carried out by more than one person given the difficulty in herding the erratic animal.
“It’s unbelievable,” Staples told national broadcaster ABC.
“I understand to a degree when you’re talking about an animal that has significant monetary value, but an emu?”
The Featherdale park urged anyone who spotted an emu not to attempt to approach or restrain it, but to immediately report any sightings to its staff.