Newly hatched coastal emu chicks under the care of WIRES.
Newly hatched coastal emu chicks under the care of WIRES.

Emu chicks saved by cane farmer

AT LEAST nine rare coastal emu chicks have the keen eyes of a local cane farmer to thank for their survival after being nearly crushed by a harvester in the Clarence Valley last Friday.

The cane farmer on Brooms Head Rd, who did not wish to be named, said he had missed the nest with 14 eggs by inches while harvesting.

After contacting the NPWS he carefully gathered the eggs and kept them warm until they were collected by local wildlife carer Kerry Cranney.

"The eggs were immediately placed in an incubator and over the weekend five of the eggs hatched healthy chicks, with two more emerging on Monday, and another two on Tuesday," Ms Cranney said.

"So far, and thanks to the quick thinking of the farmer, the coastal emu population has grown by nine chicks.

"The chicks appear to be doing well. If possible the birds may be released with tracking devices to help gain more information on the seasonal movements of the population."

Another chick, which appeared to have been attacked by a dog, was brought into care a month ago by another cane farmer. "This chick is also doing really well and will be pleased to have the company," she said.

NPWS Clarence south area manager Andrew Lugg said results from the recent coastal emu survey for 2011 put the Clarence Valley population at about 100 birds.

"No emus have been seen in Bundjalung National Park for more than two years," he said.

"Collisions with motor vehicles are still the biggest known threat. If people come across emu nests, contact NPWS immediately."



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