I am Tahini, a 1.6 m, 50 kg emu and one of the longer-term residents of the Hepburn Wildlife Shelter.
I weighed just 400g and was a mere 15cm tall when I was taken to the shelter as an orphan. I shall probably be here for the duration of my life, which is about 20 years. I graze upon what grass is available during the drought but need special food once a day to maintain my strength. If my human carers are slow to feed me in the evening, I tell them so by tapping my beak on the high kitchen window, which I can reach easily.
I am "caretaker" of the animals here. Because I tower over them, I can keep my sharp eyes on their comings and goings. When I call, I sound like the beat of a native drum sending out messages. I notice how the current 75 residents of the shelter fare when they are treated for injuries or nurtured after being orphaned. The current rate of rehabilitation is fantastic. But it saddens me that so many wild animals and birds need intensive care from gunshot wounds, car accidents, poison, and becoming entangled in garbage or caught on fences. Sometimes it distresses me greatly - I hope I don't lose any feathers as a consequence!
The wombats here are the most mischievous residents and need to be kept in line. They dig a lot of holes and move around like bulldozers. The endangered phascogale ( a beautiful small carnivorous marsupial) is growing up and flourishing but he is still no bigger than my middle toe.
I am always amused by 'Puff'. Puff is a Chinese Silky Rooster who believes he is a kangaroo! Puff only associates with the "roos" and wallabies and refuses social contact with other chickens.
As "caretaker" I also chase away snakes, which my humans have on occasion witnessed.
On behalf of my human carers, Gayle Chappell and Jon Rowdon, and the animals at the shelter - be they furry, feathered or tiny creatures with no feathers or fur - I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help in saving and caring for me and my fellow creatures. The cost of food, medicines, bandages, blankets and the many other things needed for our care and rehabilitation is enormous.
Your help both financial and 'in kind' is valued much more than I can express. I give you a booming call in appreciation.
Well, I need to make another stroll around the perimeter - an emu's work is never done!
Yours most gratefully
Emu-in-residence and "Caretaker"
Hit this link button here to go to the website... there is a good picture of me on the top line of photos! ( my friend from England took that last year - she came to stay for a few days) http://www.hepburnwildlifeshelter.com/