Caring for our Coastal Emus

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Calling all citizen scientists and wildlife enthusiasts! With less than 50 coastal emus remaining we need your help.

If you spot an emu, please register your sighting on the map below.

Local landholders, together with Clarence Valley Council, NSW Department of Planning and Environment and the Coastal Emu Alliance are working to protect coastal emus and their habitat. To do this, we are collecting data on where our emus are located. The emu register lets you pinpoint a sighting location on a map. You can also add more information about your sighting.

Calling all citizen scientists and wildlife enthusiasts! With less than 50 coastal emus remaining we need your help.

If you spot an emu, please register your sighting on the map below.

Local landholders, together with Clarence Valley Council, NSW Department of Planning and Environment and the Coastal Emu Alliance are working to protect coastal emus and their habitat. To do this, we are collecting data on where our emus are located. The emu register lets you pinpoint a sighting location on a map. You can also add more information about your sighting.

  • Estimated emu count - less than 50

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    With population numbers estimated to be below 50, there's never been a more important time for community members and citizen scientists to report sightings of the endangered Coastal Emu. If you see an emu, please register it here. There have been a number of recent sightings of large groups of juvenile emus which is promising. By knowing where our Coastal Emus are, we can work to protect them and their habitats.

    Since commencement of NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service annual surveys in 2000, the number of Coastal Emus is estimated to have declined from approximately 140 individuals to just 40 individuals in 2017 (DPE survey data), with a rapid decline since 2015.

    The NPWS survey couldn’t be coordinated due to fires in the region in 2017 and have since ceased due to low population numbers and difficulty in detecting the small number of remaining individuals. Whilst gaining accurate estimates of small populations ranging over a large area can be difficult, opportunistic sightings between 2018 and 2019 suggest that there are around 26 adults and 20 juveniles left in the area (CVC 2020). The current best estimate is under 50.

    Image Credit: J.Moloney

  • Emu-friendly fencing trial

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    07 September 2021

    Emu-friendly fencing will be trialled to help ensure the safe passage of coastal emus along some of their popular pathways on Brooms Head Rd.

    Clarence Valley Councils Coordinator of Natural Resource Management, Reece Luxton said maintaining the migratory pathways through the landscape was essential to the future of the coastal emus.

    With as few as 50 birds remaining, it is one of the most endangered bird populations in Australia.

    “As a critical keystone species, the coastal emu is essential to the health of our local environment,” Mr Luxton said.

    “The birds roam over considerable distances, in the process, they disperse seeds that maintain the health of the ecosystem. Many plant species are dependent on the emus for this wide distribution of their seeds.

    “As development continues to expand across the Clarence Valley it inevitably impacts on the environment and the wildlife that inhabit our region. With the emu population at such low numbers, being struck by vehicles as the birds attempt to cross roads between foraging habitats is a key threat to the coastal emu.

    "The Emu Fencing Project is exciting as we are working closely with local landholders and the NSW Government, through its Saving Our Species program, to help them achieve a positive outcome for their properties and for the emus that traverse their land."

    “The aim is to enable the farmers to maintain a boundary fence while at the same time making it permeable so emus can pass through without stress or risk of injury.”

    “Trial sites will be monitored using motion detection cameras to see how the emus adapt to this style of fencing, which will determine if it is suitable for future projects.”

    The emu is just one of 173 threatened species of fauna that resides in the Clarence Valley, some of which include the tusked frog, brush-tailed phascogale, rufous bettong, black-striped wallaby, and the koala.

    There are also 170 threatened plants and 18 threatened ecological communities. Over 450,000 ha, or more than 40 per cent, of the Clarence Valley is protected through National Parks and reserves.

    Today is National Threatened Species Day which is commemorated across the country to raise awareness of plants and animals at risk of extinction.

    For more information see our Emu Fencing Pamphlet.

  • Emu-friendly fencing

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    Barriers to movement are one of the main threats to the coastal emu. Image: S. Otton.


    Barriers to movement are one of the main threats to the coastal emu. Certain kinds of fencing or thick weed growth can limit the ability of the coastal emu to access food trees and habitat. Vehicle strike also increases in areas where fences are built close to the roadside, as emus cannot cross the road easily.

    We are urging locals to consider installing emu-friendly fencing to help protect the last 50 coastal emus remaining in this endangered population. Download our Emu-friendly Fencing pamphlet to learn more about how you can consider coastal emu in property planning.

  • Coastal emu networks in a nut/egg-shell

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    In December 2018, Clarence Valley Council hosted a coastal emu community information session, working alongside Office of Environment and Heritage to update Brooms Head and Gulmarrad residents on the importance of protecting this iconic species.

    One of the items that was raised as feedback was the need for more information on the groups that work on the coastal emu population and how they fit together. We've heard your cries and we are here to help!

    You can now download a list of the groups relating to coastal emu work in the Clarence Valley and Richmond Councils, as well as their contact details.

    Coastal emu networks fact sheet - Download

    Still unsure of who to contact? Get in touch with the team at Clarence Valley Council (Meet the Team) and we can help to direct your query to the right place!

Page last updated: 27 Jun 2022, 10:48 AM