Eric the emu's Facebook page has been overflowing with posts from upset residents.
Eric the emu's Facebook page has been overflowing with posts from upset residents.

Bribie residents devastated after iconic emu attacked

RANGERS on Bribie Island are seeking information about the death of one of the island's iconic emus in a dog attack on the ocean beach on Monday 7 September 2015.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) South East Regional Director Mick Cubis said a witness had called QPWS on Monday, to report seeing a dog kill the emu on the beach between Second and Third lagoons before the dog's owner collected the dog and drove off in a silver four-wheel drive vehicle.

Mr Cubis said many residents had been deeply upset about the incident.

"Residents and regular visitors will be devastated about this attack," he said.

"They love seeing the emus strut along the surf beach.

"Locals even set up a Facebook page for 'Eric the Emu', however we don't know the identity or sex of the emu that was killed."

Mr Cubis said Bribie Island was well-known for emu encounters.

"Bribie is home to some of south-east Queensland's last emus. The island has a tiny number of emus, perhaps only six to 10, and the loss of one is a huge hit to the gene pool.

Mr Cubis was hoping members of the public could help provide more information.

"Unfortunately the witness was unable to get the registration number of the vehicle, and we're asking anyone with information about the incident to call 13 74 68," Mr Cubis said.

"It's an offence to take dogs into the Recreation Area Management area of Bribie Island, including the national park, Buckleys Hole Regional Park and the entire length of the ocean beach from the end of North Street.

This regulation is aimed at protecting the wildlife.

"QPWS has zero tolerance for dogs in the RAM area. Bribie rangers issue on-the-spot fines of $117.80 to dog owners breaching the regulation - they usually issue three or four fines each weekend.

"The total penalties a court could impose under the Nature Conservation Act and Recreation Areas Management Act would be $41,619, and there may also be relevant penalties that could be imposed under the Animal Care and Protection Act.

"We are pleading with island visitors to control their dogs, keep them out of the RAM area, respect wildlife and respect the safety of human beach users too."

Mr Cubis said the bird's carcass would be provided to the Queensland Museum for study of the island's emu population.

The Bribie RAM area is also important habitat for migratory birds that can be affected by dogs.

The area's boundaries are shown on signage at the park entries and at http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/bribie-island/pdf/bribie-isl-rec-area.pdf.
 


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