Emmanuel, the emu who gained viral fame on TikTok for his eye-catching behavior, is in dire condition after contracting bird flu, according to his owner.
CNN previously reported on the emu, which rose to fame after its owner, Taylor Blake, began posting videos documenting life on her small farm, Knuckle Bump Farms, in South Florida. Emmanuel repeatedly interrupted Blake’s videos of other animals to peck the camera and garnered millions of views in the process.
Blake posted a long twitter thread Saturday, in which she described the “massive tragedy” caused by an outbreak of bird flu on her farm.
Wild geese flying on the farm transmitted the virus, she said. More than fifty of his birds, including three emus, died in three days.
Then, on Wednesday, Emmanuel also contracted the disease, she writes.
“Currently he is stable. His neurological symptoms have improved but he still does not want to eat or drink on his own,” she wrote. “I hand feed him and give him subcutaneous fluids every 2 hours 24 hours a day.
“He’s a fighter and I sincerely believe he’s going to make a full recovery.”
The emu has nerve damage in its right leg and foot, Blake said. Blake posted snapshots of the sling she and her girlfriend designed to help her regain leg function.
Emmanuel and a swan named Rico are now the only remaining birds on the farm, Blake wrote. The facility is also home to cows, deer, and pigs, among other animals.
“I took the time to process and grieve as much as I could, while dedicating all of my time to the animals and their welfare,” she wrote. “It’s hard to cry when so many lives depend on you.”
A highly contagious strain of bird flu has been confirmed in wild birds in 32 Florida counties since January 2022, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. Nearly 50 million poultry were affected by the disease on Friday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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