Missing emu was stolen, Carlow wildlife park owner says

Gardaí investigate mysterious disappearance of flightless bird

The owner of a Carlow wildlife park belives his emu was stolen. Photograph: Southern County Fishing Resort /Facebook

The owner of a Carlow wildlife park belives his emu was stolen. Photograph: Southern County Fishing Resort /Facebook

Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 14:40

The owner of a Co Carlow wildlife park is reeling after one of his emus went missing last week.

Gardaí have said they are investigating the case of the missing flightless bird.

The owner, Patrick Foley owns the Southern County Fishing Resort and Wildlife Park in Garryhill. He used to have three emus. Now he has two, and a mystery.

The 25-acre park has a 1.8 meter perimeter fence. According to Mr Foley, “nothing can get in or out” and there is no sign of damage to the fence.

He says while emus are fast runners they cannot jump.

He thinks an emu thief could have entered the park through a gate at the main entrance, which is sometimes left unlocked until late at night.

“They’re quite easy to catch. They’re very curious birds, and it’d be easy enough to grab one of them,” he said. He fears the animal will not survive on its own or in the care of its captors.

Mr Foley bought the missing emu and two others from a breeder in Cork a year ago. They were “little chicks” at the time. Now the bird is about one metre tall and could reach two metres when fully grown. He said no license was required to buy the bird.

This is not the first time an exotic bird has gone missing from the park under mysterious circumstances.

Mr Foley believes three pheasants were stolen several years ago.

According to Gillian Bird from the DSPCA (Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), emus are considered exotic animals, but there is no limitation as to what you can have as a pet under Irish law.

People can own any kind of animal without a license. “You can have an elephant out the back of your house in Dublin 16 if you want,” she said.