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W.Va. officials search for elusive emu

August 24, 2000

W.Va. officials search for elusive emu



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Wanted: one 6-foot tall, 60-pound flightless bird.

Berkeley County animal control officials and others have been trying since Monday to corral an ostrich-like bird called an emu.

The odd-looking animal was first spotted near the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport near Martinsburg Monday. Concerns were expressed that the bird that can't fly still could become a hazard to navigation, said County Commissioner Robert Burkhart.

Animal control officers couldn't find it near the airport.

On Tuesday, it was spotted near a mobile home park five miles away, said Berkeley County Animal Control Officer Ray Strine.

A resident of the mobile home park "chased the bird for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours," Strine said. That was quite a chore. The bird can't fly, but it can run about 40 miles an hour, Strine said.

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The resident, who could not be reached, called the officers to come get the wayward bird which he had roped.

"It wasn't easy getting him into the truck" Strine said. The bird is not naturally dangerous, but "If he's cornered, he has these long claws and he'll use them to slash."

They found him a home with a woman who keeps ostriches. She put him in a pen with the ostriches to see how he liked it.

Apparently, he didn't.

"He's on the loose again," Strine said.

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