Emmanuel, the emu who gained viral fame on TikTok for his attention-seeking behavior, is in critical condition after contracting bird flu, according to his owner.
CNN previously reported on the emu when its owner, Taylor Blake, gained notoriety after he began posting videos documenting life on his small farm, Knuckle Bump Farms, in South Florida. Emmanuel repeatedly interrupted Blake’s videos of other animals to pose for the cameras and got millions of views in the process.
Blake posted Long thread on Twitter On Saturday, he described the “tremendous tragedy” caused by an outbreak of bird flu on his farm.
Wild geese flying into the farm transmitted the virus, he said. Over fifty of his birds, including three emus, died over the course of three days.
Then, on Wednesday, Emmanuel also got sick, he wrote.
“Today, it is stable. His neurological symptoms have subsided, but he is still not eating or drinking on his own,” she wrote. “I am hand feeding him and giving him subcutaneous fluids every 2 hours around the clock.
“He is a fighter and I believe with all my heart that he will make a full recovery.”
The emu has nerve damage in its right leg and foot, Blake said. Blake posted photos of the sling that he and his girlfriend designed to help restore leg function.
Emmanuel and a swan named Rico are now the only birds left on the farm, Blake wrote. The facility is also home to cows, deer and pigs, among other animals.
“I have taken as much time as possible to process and grieve, while devoting all my time to the animals and their welfare,” she wrote. “It’s hard to grieve when so many lives depend on you.”
A highly contagious strain of bird flu has been confirmed in wild birds in 32 Florida counties since January 2022, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. As of Friday, nearly 50 million birds have been affected by the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.