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Fast-moving emu on the loose in Nanaimo area

A 16-year-old male emu named Lucy that escaped from its south Nanaimo enclosure Sunday was “travelling hard and fast” toward the city’s downtown on Tuesday afternoon, said its worried owner.
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A 16-year-old male emu named Lucy escaped from its south Nanaimo enclosure.

A 16-year-old male emu named Lucy that escaped from its south Nanaimo enclosure Sunday was “travelling hard and fast” toward the city’s downtown on Tuesday afternoon, said its worried owner.

Tim Genner said the flightless bird has been on the run — and it can travel 60 kilometres an hour. Its home is on Nanaimo River Road in a rural, forested area behind Nanaimo.

On Tuesday, it came barrelling into town.

The bird, which stands five feet, seven inches tall, was seen near Colliery Dam and Vancouver Island University Tuesday afternoon. Later, he was reported heading toward the city centre.

Catching Lucy “would be very difficult,” said Genner.

“It’s like herding 150-pound cats. It can’t be done.”

Lucy and his brother, Kramer, were raised by Genner and his family as pets.

“We raised it practically from an egg. We didn’t find out until years later, it was a boy.

“It was too late to change the name,” Genner said.

“We raised them in the living room, watching Seinfeld. Kramer got his name because his hairstyle is exactly like Kramer’s is on the show.”

Kramer died in the past year, leaving Lucy as the family’s lone emu. He has a friend in the field though — a young deer the Genners call Mojo has bonded with Lucy. The two are inseparable, Genner said.

The best way to approach Lucy is to have his favourite food, grapes, and let him come to you,” he said.

“He likes people, he’s really friendly,” said Genner. “He’s going towards town and he’ll want to hang around down there.”

Lucy will likely find a park area to bed down for the night, he said.

Genner is hoping Lucy doesn’t get hit by a vehicle on the busy downtown Nanaimo streets.

And Mojo is looking lonely without his big friend. “The little baby deer is going, ‘Where’s my buddy now’?” Genner said.

Cpl. Dave Boyce said anyone who spots the emu should call police. “In terms of trying to catch it, it does require an expert,” Boyce said.

Nanaimo RCMP can be reached at 250-754-2345.

smcculloch@timescolonist.com