Shot emu survives more than a year with arrow sticking out of body
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Shot emu survives more than a year with arrow sticking out of body

An emu shot more than a year ago is still moving around the ACT with an arrow protruding from its body.

Rangers spent days trying to track the injured bird down in the Cotter area in July last year and issued a public plea for sightings so they could help the animal before it was too late.

More than a year after it was shot, an emu moving around the Cotter area still has an arrow protruding from its body.

More than a year after it was shot, an emu moving around the Cotter area still has an arrow protruding from its body.Credit:James Overall

In a remarkable twist 14 months on, rangers say the emu is now happily moving around an area near the Cotter Dam and that the bird's best chance of survival requires the arrow to remain lodged in its backside.

ACT Parks and Conservation Murrumbidgee River Corridor ranger in charge James Overall said the emu was in good shape considering its plight.

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"We can confirm that it's the same emu," Mr Overall said.

"It seems to be in perfect health and not too worried about what it's got in its right-side rump.

"They're pretty resilient creatures, like all of our native wildlife."

More than a year after it was shot, an emu moving around the Cotter area still has an arrow protruding from its body

More than a year after it was shot, an emu moving around the Cotter area still has an arrow protruding from its bodyCredit:James Overall

Mr Overall said a government vet had told rangers that attempting to tranquillise the emu and perform surgery to remove the arrow would be riskier than leaving the animal alone and monitoring its health from a distance.

He said there had been an increase in sightings of the emu recently because it had started hanging around roads in the Cotter area.

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"It does join in with family groups from time to time, then it goes solo again," Mr Overall said.

"I guess the message that we want to get out to people is that [the emu] is known to us and that we are monitoring it.

"It's moving freely and it can run, as far as I'm aware."

Mr Overall said rangers believed at least one other emu had been shot with an arrow in the Cotter area during the last year, but they did not have any photographic evidence.

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"It is a concern and it could be a pattern of behaviour from particular individuals," he said.

"It's an area that does get some anti-social activity after hours, unfortunately."

Anyone who sees the shot emu in distress should call ACT Parks and Conservation on 6207 2425.

Emus are not the only native animals to be targeted in attacks in the ACT in recent times.

In May, senior ranger Brett McNamara made a public appeal for information after a female wombat was stabbed 13 times in a brutal killing at Tharwa Sandwash, a popular swimming spot on the Murrumbidgee River south of Canberra.

At the time, Mr McNamara said it was one of the worst incidents he had dealt with in 30 years on the job.

The emu shooting and wombat stabbing incidents have been reported to ACT Policing.

Killing, injuring or endangering a native animal in the ACT carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail and a $75,000 fine.

Anyone with information on animal cruelty should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, or via the Crime Stoppers ACT website.

Blake Foden is a reporter at the Sunday Canberra Times. He has worked as a journalist in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

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