Emmanuel The Emu One Of Two Birds To Survive Devastating Avian Flu Outbreak On Florida Farm

“The road to a full recovery will be long, but I am dedicated.”

Emmanuel the Emu Taylor Blake
Photo: Knuckle Bump Farms/Instagram

Emmanuel Todd Lopez, the world's most beloved emu, is recovering after the South Florida hobby farm where he resides was hit with a deadly bout of avian flu.

Taylor Blake, who runs Knuckle Bump Farms, shared on Twitter Saturday that they lost 99% of the birds on the farm to the virus. Only two birds—one of them Emmanuel—survived.

"We lost 50+ birds in 3 days," Blake shared in a now-viral thread. "I am still trying to wrap my head around it. We thought we were out of the woods, when Emmanuel unexpectedly went down this past Wednesday…"

Blake said she has been caring for the seven-year-old emu "around the clock" since Wednesday and asked for prayers and good vibes as Emmanuel fought for his life. By Sunday, the camera-loving bird seemed to be through the worst of it and had begun eating and drinking on his own for the first time since he became sick.

"Please keep the prayers coming!" Blake wrote.

Despite his progress, Emmanuel is not out of the woods yet. The virus caused the 5-foot-8 emu to lose function in his right leg. Blake and her girlfriend constructed a sling so that they can start physical therapy with him, but they are looking for an avian expert with experience rehabilitating large birds to get him over the finish line.

"It is an absolute miracle that he has made it this far, and I will never give up on him," Blake wrote. "The road to a full recovery will be long, but I am dedicated."

Emmanuel first shot to fame over the summer when videos of him interrupting Blake's attempts to record educational videos for TikTok went viral. "Emmanuel, don't do it!" was suddenly on everyone's lips.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the H5N1 bird influenza has killed more than 45 million birds in the U.S. since the start of an outbreak in February. Wild migratory birds are believed to have brought the deadly virus to North America, and have since spread the virus to more than 40 wild bird species.

Blake attributed the outbreak on Knuckle Bump Farms to wild Egyptian Geese.

"At one point, there were as many as 50 of them that would fly in every night at the same time," she wrote. "We would chase them off, and they would return under the cover of darkness."

Our hearts go out to Blake, Emmanuel, and everyone at Knuckle Bump Farms as they deal with the aftermath of this tragedy. We hope Emmanuel is back to his phone-pecking antics in no time.

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