Sadness at the death of Norfolk’s ‘celebrity’ A47 emu

Shemu the emu with her owner Debbie Warden

Shemu the emu with her owner Debbie Warden - Credit: Archant

A pet emu which lived off the A47 near Dereham and is liked by more than 2,800 people on Facebook has died.

Sarah Tranquillo who set up the Facebook page

Sarah Tranquillo who set up the Facebook page - Credit: Archant

Thousands of motorists driving between Dereham and Norwich would notice Shemu the emu in her pen by the side of the A47 at Hockering.

Sarah Tranquillo, 27, who lives on Rosebery Road, Norwich set up a Facebook page three years ago called 'I Look at the Emu on the A47.'

She said: 'I would wave at the emu as I past her on the way to see a friend in Dereham.

'I thought, how many others do the same? So set up this Facebook page. Six months later 1,500 people liked it and now more than 2,800 people like it.'


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Shemu died on Boxing Day.

It was initially thought the 10-year-old bird was killed by foxes but its owners, the Warden family, who also own two donkeys, two ferrets, four dogs, a rabbit, a tortoise, a pig and an albino corn snake, believe Shemu's death was due to illness and a bad fall in the wind in which she broke her ribs.

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Mrs Tranquillo said: 'It's really sad that Shemu has died and I think a lot of people will miss seeing her.'

Many people have left their condolences on the Facebook page.

Comments include: 'I love you Shemu. R.I.P. xxxxx', 'Absolutely gutted, Shemu always brightened up my drive to and from Dereham everyday. RIP Shemu' and 'Such a shame, a local celebrity gone.'

The Wardens have owned Shemu since she was born.

They got her from an emu breeding farm in Leicestershire along with a male emu called Hemu.

Hemu died after 18 months.

Debbie Warden, 52, a palliative care nurse, said: 'Hemu wouldn't mate when they reached maturity so Shemu started to attack him and he died. I think he died of a broken heart.'

She added: 'Shemu has had a happy life, but 10 is quite old for an emu and she was unwell. We think, that, and the fall in the wind killed her.

'She's been a great pet. She will sit and eat with us and she loves being stroked. People would often stop to look at her and take photographs and I think she loved posing.

'We think this Facebook group is great and we want to thank everyone who has left kind messages. Shemu brought a lot of joy to people.

'Some even used Shemu for directions and say things like, 'turn left after the emu.'

People can soon expect to see two new emus outside the Wardens' home.

Mrs Warden said: 'We've been in touch with the place in Leicestershire and we're looking to get two more in the new year.'

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