CHP CAP­TURES EMU ON HIGH­WAY

An emu led Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol of­fi­cers in Madera on a brief pur­suit along High­way 99 on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY TIM SHEE­HAN tshee­[email protected]­nobee.com Tim Shee­han: 559-441-6319, @TimShee­hanNews

An emu led Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol of­fi­cers in Madera on a brief pur­suit along High­way 99 on Fri­day af­ter­noon, but they man­aged to catch the big bird with­out in­jury.

CHP spokesman Gre­go­rio Ro­driguez said of­fi­cers re­ceived a call shortly be­fore 3 p.m. about the hairy, flight­less bird – orig­i­nally de­scribed as an os­trich – as it wan­dered along the right-hand shoul­der of the free­way’s south­bound lanes near Av­enue 17. When of­fi­cers ar­rived, they re­al­ized that who­ever made the call was, in fact, not hal­lu­ci­nat­ing.

“Yeah, it re­ally was an emu,” Ro­driguez said. For­tu­nately, the 4- to 5-foot-tall bird did not dart into traf­fic, “but he kept it on the shoul­der the whole way un­til we got to the bot­tom of the of­framp.”

A pair of CHP of­fi­cers used dog snares “to de­tain the emu” un­til an of­fi­cer from Madera County An­i­mal Ser­vices ar­rived to take the bird into cus­tody. Of­fi­cers don’t know whether the emu may have es­caped from a farm in the area or got­ten out of a ve­hi­cle that was trav­el­ing on the high­way.

“I’m pretty sure (An­i­mal Ser­vices) will try to find the owner or wait for some­one to claim it,” Ro­driguez said.

Ro­driguez man­aged to have a lit­tle fun with the in­ci­dent on the Madera CHP of­fice’s Face­book page as well. “No you weren’t watch­ing a live ac­tion Lib­erty Mu­tual com­mer­cial,” he wrote, re­fer­ring to tele­vi­sion ads fea­tur­ing an in­sur­ance-sell­ing emu and his hu­man part­ner. “This af­ter­noon we were graced by the pres­ence of an emu” on the south­bound lanes of the free­way.

Emus are na­tive to Aus­tralia and are the sec­ond-largest birds in the world be­hind their zo­o­log­i­cal kin, the os­trich. Emus can reach a height of about 6 feet tall and weigh as much as 120 pounds, ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from the San Diego Zoo. While their wings are use­less for flight, their pow­er­ful legs can al­low them to sprint at up to 30 mph and trot quickly for longer distances.

CAL­I­FOR­NIA HIGH­WAY PA­TROL

Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol of­fi­cers and an of­fi­cer from Madera County An­i­mal Ser­vices gin­gerly work to cap­ture an emu that was found wan­der­ing along High­way 99 north of Madera on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

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