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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.
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:
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 emus from moving freely across the landscape.
You can help by:
To ensure our emus have access to safe, suitable bushland refuges we need to improve their habitat:
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.
You can reduce the risk of feral animal impacts by:
The degradation of coastal ecosystems by weeds can have an impact on coastal emus, as they create impenetrable areas that restrict natural emu movement.
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.
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 and 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 Caragh Heenan, Project Officer (NRM), from the Natural Resource Management on (02) 6641 7357 or emailing Caragh.Heenan@clarence.nsw.gov.au .
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
If you suspect an emu needs help, please contact:
WIRES on 1300 094 737
Experienced, trained handlers will advise what should be done to help the emu.