Zoo owner in plea after emus are frightened by fireworks

‘OPERATION protect nervous emu’ was under way at The Accidental Zoo during a week of fireworks for bonfire night.

Emu George in particular was so distressed by the displays that owner Ryan Le Guilcher, whose Castel home is the family-run smallholding, had to stay out every night for about a week until nearly midnight to keep him company.

‘I spent every night with the three emus we have in their pen to calm them and keep them from injuring themselves,’ he said.

George the emu (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28900905)

‘Going down there with the car, I put the stereo on full volume and all the lights on, following the advice to give them some background noise so that when the bangs went off they were already distracted.’

This meant spending long cold nights from 5pm until 11.30pm soothing them and making sure they stayed safe.

‘All it takes is one display,’ he said.

George the emu has injured himself by running into a fence when fireworks have spooked him. (28900891)

‘If I’m not there then I’ve potentially got badly injured animals, so it’s best to stay out there as long as possible.

‘One of them in particular [George] goes into a blind panic and acts as if the fence isn’t there and will sprint at full speed straight at it.’

This is something that happened two days prior to 5 November when Mr Le Guilcher said George had charged at the fence trying to get over it. He stripped off some of his feathers and sustained cuts and grazes.

Ryan Guilcher of The Accidental Zoo inspecting George the emu's injuries after fireworks spooked him. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28900907)

Although he was not seriously injured, it could have been worse as a few weeks earlier a tractor using an industrial hedge cutter had resulted in a trip to the vet for George too.

‘Animals have different personalities, just like people,’ added Mr Le Guilcher.

George the emu injured himself running into the fence when fireworks spooked him, causing him some nasty injuries to his neck and chest. Here he is being fed some of his favourite treat - banana - by Ryan Guilcher from The Accidental Zoo. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28900936)

‘I’m not a party pooper as I have children who like fireworks and they are good fun, but what frustrates me is when people have fireworks and nobody is aware, like that first night George got injured we weren’t aware.’

He urged people to let organisations running lists of firework displays know when they were having one to help them and other pet owners keep their animals safe.

Ryan Guilcher of The Accidental Zoo has had to spend his nights with his new emus over the last couple of weeks due to fireworks upsetting them. Now the Guernsey Rally is planning a stage in the lane past his house, and the animals at the zoo. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 28900887)

‘The lists are great,’ he said.

‘For me it’s been quite tiring and miserable and cold being in a field, but it’s got to be done. I just wish I knew when all firework displays were happening, rather than the unexpected, so I don’t have to be worried all the time.’

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