Community mourns loss of Bunbury Wildlife Park emu

Elvis and Lisa-Marie: Elvis the Emu lived at Bunbury Wildlife Park for his entire 25 years. Picture: supplied

Elvis and Lisa-Marie: Elvis the Emu lived at Bunbury Wildlife Park for his entire 25 years. Picture: supplied

THE Bunbury community is this week mourning the loss of 25-year-old feathery friend, Elvis the emu.

As announced by the Bunbury Wildlife Park on February 2, Elvis had sadly passed away after developing a tumour in his ankle joint which according to keepers was impeding his gait and circulation.

Despite keepers applying a combination of anti-inflammatory ointment and medication to ease the pain, the tumour continued to grow.

Bunbury Wildlife Park team leader Tanya-Marie Barbour said Elvis came to the park as a chick, having been raised by wildlife carers Doreen Jones and Des Hume at the then-called, Big Swamp Wildlife Park.

"Doreen hand-reared Elvis for seven weeks before returning him back to the park," Ms Barbour said.

"She named him because of his impressive hairstyle and locks.

"So naturally his girlfriend was named Lisa-Marie."

Rest in peace: Elvis the Emu had a "cheeky" personality. Picture: supplied

Rest in peace: Elvis the Emu had a "cheeky" personality. Picture: supplied

Ms Barbour said Elvis would be remembered for his "cheeky" personality, in that he was known for snatching seed bags off children when the opportunity presented itself.

She said his favourite foods were apples, grapes, lettuce and kale, but his favourite was watermelon, which he would "enthusiastically gobble down".

"On hot days, Elvis and Lisa-Marie loved being hosed down by the keepers and volunteers," she said.

Looking to the future, Ms Barbour said if the opportunity presented itself, the team at the Widllife Park would "look at possibilities" of another male emu for Lisa-Marie.

She explained that emus are solidary animals who only came together during their breeding season.