Habitat & Range
Emus inhabit many environments ranging from savannah forests and grasslands to semi-arid lands.
All areas of Australia except the rainforests and areas cleared for agriculture. They are less common in deserts and the far north of Australia.
Like ostriches, emus cannot fly. Their tiny wings are only eight inches (20 cm) long and they lack flight feathers the breastbone, or keel, and the muscles needed for flight. However they have very strong legs for running and can reach speeds of 30-35 mph for short distances. They can walk considerable distances at a steady rate of four and a half mph. Their powerful leg muscles and talons are used for defense against predators.
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Although emus compete with cattle for grassland and also destroy agriculture crops, they are not currently endangered. An effort to eradicate emus in the 1930’s resulted in the death of thousands of birds, but the species survived. To protect crops, an emu-proof fence was constructed along 600 miles of agricultural land to keep the emus out. These birds are not endangered and in fact have benefited from human activity in Australia. The establishment of watering stations for cattle and sheep has provided permanent watering holes also used by emus. So much of Australia is unoccupied or used as open rangeland that emus still have plenty of room to roam.
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