Bodycam video shows team stalk escaped emus near Kalamazoo

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Six emus that were on the lam near Kalamazoo were caught and safely returned home Wednesday morning, authorities say.

In a Facebook post around 9 a.m., the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were responding to a report of six emus loose in the area of 6th Street and Stadium Drive in Oshtemo Township, west of Kalamazoo. The sheriff’s office advised drivers around there to use caution.

“Never a dull day,” the post read.

As of 10:40 a.m., the post was updated to say that “all emus have been secured.”

“The family had requested our assistance in helping locate their emus that had gotten loose,” Sheriff Richard Fuller explained in a news conference later Wednesday. “The family was concerned that these animals could have caused a traffic crash or injured someone.”

He blamed the emus’ escape from their farm on the weather, saying the birds were likely spooked by high winds and falling tree limbs.

Body camera video released by the department shows a deputy working to help the owners corral one of the emus in a clearing near some woods. The team carried a lasso, blankets and long sticks. At one point in the video, the deputy kisses, clucks and speaks to the bird to try to keep it calm and prevent it from taking off.

“Oh, you’re agile!” the deputy can be heard exclaiming in the video as the emu darts past.

According to the Smithsonian National Zoo, emus are large flightless birds with an average height of 5.7 feet. They are fast runners and can reach speeds up to 31 mph.

Fuller said the emus were “well contained,” so his department only needed to send a few deputies to help. It took a couple of hours to round the six emus up, with the family doing most of the work.

The sheriff said it’s not unusual for deputies to have to corral wayward animals because they often cover rural areas — he said he himself has had to help round up sheep, horses, cows and geese.

“So emus is just added to the list,” Fuller said.

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