ENDANGERED: COASTAL EMUS AND SUGAR CANE FARMERS

Though I have traveled this stretch of highway several hundred times, only twice have I seen the rare and elusive coastal emu. More squat than his inland cousins with brown feathers, he sailed regally through the green sea of knee-high sugar cane.
I recall this windshield scene and the retired cane farmer says that although he has never seen them, they make a mess of the cane. Though his cheerfulness sparkles from sun-crinkled eyes, he speaks for a generation that battled. Like the rare emu he has arrived at his age, having raised a family amongst the flood-prone cane fields.

 

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4-July-2014 11:25 AM
After visiting my late father’s friend Doug McSwan at Woodford Island, Maclean NSW on 3-July-2014.

It is special to see such an endangered species still in the wild. There was a newspaper report about 3 or 4 years ago of a sugar cane harvester rescuing a clutch of baby coastal emus in this area. Like other emus the female lays the eggs and then the male incubates and raises them. This drabble (100-word story) was inspired by calling in to see a good friend of my late father’s at Harwood Island (just south of Maclean NSW) and our discussion about the coastal emu.

I did not manage to photograph them but I did find Lynette’s blog that has some lovely photographs of the same rare coastal emus in the sugar cane paddocks in this area on http://soulsongart.com/2011/10/29/coastal-emus-near-maclean-nsw/

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