… does this bird not occur in the wild in central Victoria?
Emus are perhaps Australia’s most distinctive and widely recognised bird, after all they feature with the Red Kangaroo on the ‘coat of arms’, the formal symbol of the Commonwealth of Australia.
Across much of Australia the Emu can still be found, especially throughout the inland and in less closely settled coastal districts. In central Victoria it is not unusual to see Emus but these are almost always escapees from ill-fated ‘farming’ ventures.
A combination of threats has led to the demise of the original populations many decades ago. The clearance and fragmentation of areas of suitable habitat, deliberate slaughter, collisions with vehicles and predation of the eggs and young have been the major factors in this decline. Whenever I come across the beautiful Cranberry Heath in our local bushland I am reminded of its value as Emu ‘tucker’. Like many small shrubs in the box-ironbark this plant has declined in parallel with the Emu.