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Tall, gray feathered suspect on the lam in Orange and Chatham counties

A pet emu in Myrtle Beach. A similar-looking bird has been spotted in Orange and Chatham counties. Law enforcement are looking for the bird and hope to catch it.
A pet emu in Myrtle Beach. A similar-looking bird has been spotted in Orange and Chatham counties. Law enforcement are looking for the bird and hope to catch it. jbell@thesunnews.com

Law enforcement continued the hunt Wednesday for a potentially dangerous suspect in Orange and Chatham counties.

Officials say they don’t know the suspect’s exact whereabouts. Most sightings have been reported near the county line.

Last spotted in Chapel Hill, the suspect is around 5 feet tall and over 100 pounds, wearing a mound of gray and brown feathers.

If you see it, “stay away from it,” said Todd McGee, Orange County spokesman.

The emu, a large flightless bird, was first spotted June 26.

Officials are doing their best to capture the emu, but it has proven difficult.

“It’s a wild animal and it’s pretty big, so it’s going to be hard to corral it,” McGee said..

Officials are telling the public not to attempt to feed the bird, which eats vegetation, insects and small animals.

Don’t try to pet it either.

If the bird senses danger, it may run after you and swiftly kick you with large talons at the end of each foot.

The emu, native to Australia, is the second largest bird in the world. The bird has powerful legs that allow it to run 30 mph for long distances and jump 7 feet in the air.

It is usually raised in the United States for meat.

Because the emu has stayed in roughly the same area, officials think the bird is from Chatham County, though no one has reported a lost bird.

If you see the emu, call:

Orange County Animal Services: 919-942-7387

Chatham County Animal Services: 919-542-7203

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Trent Brown covers the Town of Cary and other odds and ends. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019 and is a Collegiate Network fellow.
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