Coastal Emus in the Clarence

The coastal emu population in northern New South Wales is under threat due to vehicle strike, barriers to movement and feral animals. Local landholders, together with the Clarence Valley Council, the Office of Environment and Heritage and the Coastal Emu Alliance are working to protect coastal emus and their habitat.

Coastal Emu

Why emus need our help

There are fewer than 50 individuals known to remain on the east coast of Australia, hence they are listed as endangered under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

Coastal emus are exposed to a number of threats in developed areas, including:

  • vehicle strike
  • barriers to movement such as fencing
  • loss of food trees and habitat
  • feral animals
  • weeds
  • unmanaged fire

On the road

Emus move large distances to forage, often crossing roads in their travels where they become at risk of vehicle strike. Please take notice of emu signs and be on the lookout in these areas. Be mindful of emus when travelling in vegetated areas and slow down accordingly. It’s only with the help of motorists that we can hope to reduce unnecessary deaths of this iconic population.


Fences can prevent eFencemus from moving freely across the landscape.

You can help by:

  • Installing emu-friendly fences they can climb over, under or through
  • Installing emu gates in known traffic areas that can allow emus to transit whilst restricting movement to livestock
  • Use emu-friendly single-strand wire, rather than barbed wire to prevent injury to coastal emus

You can help to preserve and restore habitat

To ensure our emus have access to safe, suitable bushland refuges we need to improve their habitat:

  • Get to know the trees in your area that coastal emus rely on for food and shelter.
  • Protect forest habitat - it should be retained and enhanced to maintain refuge areas and corridor links.
  • Retain and plant emu food plants - you will help to repair key habitat and create corridors that allow coastal emus to move safely between habitat patches.

Feral Animals

Attack from feral animals (such as pigs, dogs and foxes) are a cause of emu injury and death, primarily in chicks. Disturbance of nests during the breeding season is also taking a toll on coastal emu populations.Emu and chicks

You can reduce the risk of feral animal impacts by:

  • Containing your pet dog, ideally secured in an enclosure that keeps your dog in and emus out. Emus are most active during the day. Containing your dog during this time will allow emus to move about safely.
  • Controlling your pet dog - keep your dog on a lead when you are walking in areas where emus are known to occur to prevent them from chasing coastal emus or disrupting their nests.
  • Wild dog, feral pig and feral fox control may help reduce these risks to emus. If you have feral animals in your area, contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299 for information on control options.


The degradation of coastal ecosystems by weeds can have an impact on coastal emus, as they create impenetrable areas that restrict natural emu movement.

You can help by:

  • Controlling weeds on your property.
  • Getting involved with a local Landcare group to remove weeds in vegetation corridors and reserves.


Emus can potentially escape fire if they have access to unburned habitat, which can also provide a refuge until the burnt areas regenerate.

Controlled burns: Individual emus can be directly affected during hazard reduction burns, as back-burning can trap individuals.

Wildfires: High-intensity wildfires pose a serious threat to emus.

You can help by:

  • Consulting the local Rural Fire Service for advice about fire hazard reduction
  • Maintaining fire breaks to reduce the likelihood of wildfire entering your property
  • Controlling bushland weeds to reduce fire risk

Registering coastal emu sightings in the Clarence Valley

The coastal emu range extends from Corindi to Evans Head along the northern New South Wales coast and inland to Bungawalbin wetlands and surrounds. The main coastal emu strongholds remain near Yuraygir National Park aCoastal Emund Bungawalbin National Park.

Knowing where coastal emus are located in our landscape helps us to conserve the species. Data collection enables us to learn about why emus prefer a particular habitat, why certain habitats contain more individuals than other similar habitats and why coastal emus are declining from particular areas. By understanding their distribution and movement paths we can determine the conservation value of regional zones and further develop management guidelines for natural resources.

Council is keen to learn about where you've seen coastal emus. We are collecting data on where our emus are located to help conserve this iconic population. Our online Coastal Emu Register will let you pin-point a coastal emu sighting location on a map. Evidence of emu activity includes actual sightings, hearing drumming, tracks, scats, feathers, or eggs. You'll also be able to add more information about the sighting to help us learn more. Follow the steps—it’s easy!

You can also register a coastal emu sighting by contacting the Natural Resource Management team on (02) 66 43 0200

Tell us your emu story

If you have an emu story that doesn’t relate to a sighting, we want you to tell us about it.

Head to the Caring for our Coastal Emus page via the web and select the Tell us Your Emu Story tab

Injured, sick or orphaned emus

If you suspect aEmun emu needs help, please contact:

WIRES on 1300 094 737

Experienced, trained handlers will advise what should be done to help the emu.

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