The Disappearing Emu

Australia’s early settlers hunted emus for food and as a result the emus that were abundant in Tasmania and Australia’s east coast disappeared.  Today, only one population remains in existence, aside from the thriving Australian inland emus, the coastal emu. The New South Wales (NSW) Government, in 2002, listed the coastal emus as an endangered population as its numbers were, and continues to be, in steep decline.

coatal emu
The coastal emu. Photography by Stephen Otton

The coastal emu is genetically distinct from the inland emu and an important seed disperser. It travels large distances and plays an important role in the regeneration of native species. Other species do a similar service but not to the same capacity. If the coastal emu is lost from the ecosystem it will reduce diversity and populations of species that depend on the plants, not to mention the loss of another emu species.

coastal emu map
The range of the endangered coastal emu population. (Image credit: Coastal Emu Alliance). An estimated 50 Coastal Emus remain in crucial habitat areas of the Clarence and Richmond valleys.

A concerted effort is necessary to save an endangered species with numbers as low as the coastal emu. It is encouraged that sightings of coastal emus and/or nests are reported to The Coastal Emu Register. Identifying nesting sites can help target feral animal control at the local level. Tracking the seasonal movements of the emus, will help build an understanding of the survival rates of adults and chicks, and whether a captive breeding may be required to re-build the number of Coastal Emus found in the wild.

If you are out and about coastal emu spotting, for accuracy sake, please be aware that there are also adventuresome PJ Paintings emus running around.

Family Outing I
Family Outing
Bonnie & Mexsml
Bonnie and Me!
Surfing Clifton Beach, Tasmaniaxsml
Surfing Clifton Beach, Tasmania

Take care and thank you for visiting the unfurling artist. 🙂

PJ Paintings prints are available at http://www.pjpaintings.com

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