- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

IONIA, Mich. (AP) - An emu has been on the loose in Ionia County for the past few days after escaping from a farm.

Mary Tasma, who owns Emu Endeavor in Ionia, said the large, flightless bird jumped the 6-foot fence and escaped Saturday. She isn’t sure which direction the emu went, but it may have been seen in Kent County near M-50, officials said Monday.

Tasma would like to get the emu back, but it likely will have to be shot if it’s located, because the birds are very hard to catch or corral, she said.

“It is usually very hard to catch them in the wild when they get outside of their perimeter they lose everything,” Tasma said.

Emus originated in Australia and are known to run as fast as 30 mph. They also have long nails that they can use as a defense mechanism if they feel threatened.

Tasma has raised emus for more than 20 years. She sells their meat, eggs and oils, which can be used to treat skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and burns.

The missing emu is described as looking “like a small ostrich” that’s “black and gray and very fast.”

Anyone who spots the bird is asked to call Ionia County Central Dispatch.

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