Many people may not realise that the only coastal emus left alive are found between Evans Head and Red Rock, south of Grafton.
To raise awareness and encourage people to report any emu sightings, the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife has funded a new brochure all about these endangered birds.
National Parks and Wildlife ranger Holly North said as recently as the 1980s emus were widespread in coastal NSW from Port Stephens to Evans Head.
“The main threats facing our emus are collisions with vehicles and egg and chick predation by foxes and dogs,” she said. “The North Coast emu is now separated into three distinct sub-populations – one in Yuraygir National Park south of the Clarence River, one in Bundjalung National Park north of the Clarence, and one in the Richmond River floodplain about 10 to 30 kilometres inland of the coast.
“The NPWS has been running annual North Coast emu surveys using community volunteers for 10 years, and in that time the distribution of this population has contracted by about 60%.”
Holly said the aim now is to obtain DNA samples, find out more about their nesting behaviour and determine numbers and distribution of the endangered population.
She encourages people to report any sightings of emus and also be mindful that they are in nesting mode and their chicks will hatch during August and September.
“Drivers are encouraged to slow down in emu areas and keep dogs under control,” Holly said. “Community support for protecting local emus is the key to their survival.”
If you do spot any coastal emus or want more information, phone National Parks & Wildlife on 6627 0200.