UPDATE: Eno the elusive emu dies during capture in North Carolina

Published: Sep. 12, 2019 at 3:02 PM EDT
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Animal control officials in North Carolina are sad to report that an elusive emu has died while being captured.

It was the end nobody wanted for the flightless bird, which was on the run for months. The emu was dubbed Eno and became a social media star, with people posting ``Where's Eno?'' updates as the bird kept getting away. In July, it was spotted jumping onto a car before fleeing again.

Orange County Animal Services Director Bob Marotto says letting it roam wasn't ``viable,'' because it could have caused an accident or been shot by hunters. No owner came forward, so the plan was to bring it to an animal sanctuary. They fed it grapes with sedatives, but Marotto says Eno awoke while being restrained and then collapsed and died

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The search for an emu that has been evading authorities in the Triangle for months came to a sad end today.

Orange County authorities say the evasive emu died during an attempt to capture the animal and relocate it to a sanctuary.

The emu was first spotted in late June. The county says no claimed ownership of the bird even though there was widespread publicity.

County animal control officers had been providing it with food and water for weeks while making a plan to capture the bird.

A board-certified avian veterinarian and two specialists from the North Carolina Zoo were there for the attempted capture. The bird was sedated to make transport easier, according to the county, and they said the emu didn't respond to the low dose of sedatives.

Animal Services Director Bob Marotto the bird "suffered an event while being restrained and died". The team tried to revive the emu through CRP, but was unsuccessful.

"We were concerned it could come out on the roadway and cause an accident or be injured itself, and we were also concerned with the opening of hunting season," Marotto said. "We didn't feel leaving it alone was a viable option."