This story was updated.
It took a seventh-generation farmer, a couple of people with emu experience and three 10-month-old heifers to catch an animal Thursday that has become a legend of sorts in Washington County.
One of what could be several loose emus in Washington County jumped into a cow fence on Thursday and came face to face with three curious young cows, according to Jane Bell, whose husband Bob is the seventh generation of the ninth-generation Tide Mill Organic Farm in Edmunds.
The emu has become a bit of a local celebrity, prompting people to post pictures on social media with emus photoshopped into them and sell emu T-shirts.
Sightings were reported in various towns, including by a moose hunter who saw one on a woods road in Alexander. Washington County Sheriff’s Office said Friday it is likely there is more than one emu, based on the number of sightings.
On Thursday, Bob Bell, Ray Willioms — the head of the search to capture the animals — and an unidentified volunteer grabbed the emu on the water’s edge in a cove when the cows pushed it in that direction, leaving it nowhere to go.
They put a rope around its neck to lead it to a vehicle, prepared it to travel safely including covering its eyes, and took it to live in an undisclosed place where there is another emu.
Washington and Hancock county sheriff’s departments and the Maine Warden Service said they did not know where the emus were from or how they became loose.
Two more emus were caught Thursday night, said Willioms, aka Ray Geisel.
Jane Bell said her family felt lucky. Just a week ago, a family wedding was being held in the area of the farm where the emu walked out.
“Just think if this had happened last week,” she said.