Emmanuel, an emu who went viral on TikTok for his attention-seeking behavior, is in a critical condition after suffering from bird flu, according to his owner.
CNN previously reported that the emu rose to fame after its owner, Taylor Blake, began posting videos documenting life on his small farm, Knuckle Pump Farms, in South Florida. Emmanuel repeatedly interrupted Blake’s videos of other animals to poke at the camera. It got millions of views In the process.
Posted by Blake A long Twitter thread Saturday, in which he described the “massive tragedy” of bird flu outbreak at his farm.
Wild geese that fly into the farm spread the virus, he said. More than fifty birds, including three emus, died in three days.
Later, on Wednesday, he wrote that Emmanuel also fell ill.
“He is stable now. His neurological symptoms have subsided, but he still won’t eat or drink on his own,” she wrote. “I feed him by hand and give him subcutaneous fluids every 2 hours.
“He is a fighter and I hope with all my heart that he will make a full recovery.”
The emu suffered nerve damage in its right leg and foot, Blake said. Blake posted snapshots of the sling she and her girlfriend had implanted to help him regain leg function.
Blake wrote that Emmanuel and Rico, a swan, are now the only remaining birds on the farm. The facility is also home to cows, deer and pigs, among other animals.
“I have taken time to process and grieve as much as possible, while devoting my full time to the animals and their well-being,” she wrote. “It’s hard to be sad when so many lives depend on you.”
A highly contagious case of avian influenza has been confirmed in wild birds in 32 counties in Florida since January 2022. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. As of Friday, nearly 50 million chickens were infected with the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.