Otherwise amusing antics took an intolerable turn last week when two of the birds, Carol and Kevin, discovered they could climb the front stairs of the Yaraka Hotel.
Australian Outback pub bans messy emus for 'bad behavior'
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian Outback pub has banned emus for "bad behavior," and erected barriers to prevent the large, flightless birds from creating havoc inside.
Locals and tourists have been bemused by the antics of the emus eager to steal food from people in Yaraka, a remote Queensland state outpost with a permanent population of 18.
But things took an intolerable turn last week when two of the birds, Carol and Kevin, discovered they could climb the front stairs of the Yaraka Hotel, the only pub, publican Chris Gimblett said Tuesday.
"They're learnt to walk up the front steps of the hotel, which has been causing just a few issues," especially with the amount of their waste, he said.
Gimblett solved the problem by stringing a rope across the top of the stairs. A sign advises customers to replace the rope once they enter because "emus have been banned from this establishment for bad behavior."
The inquisitive emus are not yet clever enough to duck under the rope to get inside the pub.
While Australian pubs occasionally have a parrot in the bar, emus are not indoor birds.
"When emus get a fright, they head in a forward direction but are normally looking behind so they can't see where they're going and this is where chaos can happen," Gimblett said. "They bump into everything."
Visitors staying at the Yaraka trailer park have been surprised by the lengths emus will go to steal food, including pecking a fried egg off a barbecue plate, Gimblett said.
"They will lean through the (trailer) door with their long necks and pluck toast out of the toaster," he said.
"If you've got a mug of coffee on the little table by the door, they will drink all the coffee, without spilling it I might add. You just discover that your mug's empty. They're just eating machines," he added.
There used to be eight emus in Yaraka. A resident rescued eggs from an abandoned nest in 2018 and hatched them with the help of an electric blanket. But all except Carol and Kevin have moved on, apparently in search of mates.
"We're in lockdown mode," Gimblett said of his barricaded pub. "At least it's emus and not coronavirus."
—By ROD McGUIRK, Associated Press
Long haul: Dog lost on South Carolina highway found in Miami
MIAMI (AP) — A pet dog that jumped out of a car window on a South Carolina highway has been found two weeks later, nearly 600 miles (966 kilometers) away in Miami, according to a relative of the owner.
The dog named Belle escaped from the moving car near Charleston on July 15, according to Tim Whitfield, whose 90-year-old mother owns Belle.
Whitfield put out a call for help on Facebook at the time and said that he bought the puppy for his mother after her dog of 16 years recently died. She was “heartbroken" after hearing the dog was lost, Whitfield added.
After nearly two weeks of searching, Whitfield learned over the weekend that a car of Florida residents grabbed Belle out of traffic after spotting the animal while traveling through Charleston to Miami, WCIV-TV reported Sunday.
The rescuers said they saved Belle because they were afraid she was going to be hit by oncoming cars, the station reported. They then tracked down Whitfield through social media posts.
Whitfield thanked all the people who helped share Belle's story in a message posted to Facebook on Sunday.
“A great reminder that when all seems lost, hope must be the constant thought,” he said.
Lost toy dog returns home with help of Cincinnati airport
The Cincinnati-area airport took a child’s beloved stuffed animal for an impromptu tour, reaching many on social media, before uniting the toy Dalmatian with its family in Florida.
Staff at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport were sending the toy back to Florida on Friday. The airport's Facebook posts about the missing plaything reached 1 million people, airport spokesperson Mindy Kershner said.
Airport employees found the toy left behind in the terminal, Kershner told The Associated Press, and snapped photos of the lost traveler outfitted in a mask at the airport's restaurants, on the runway and with a K9 team.
Doug and Phyllis Ronco, of Madeira Beach, Florida, said they were driving to the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to retrieve their son's stuffed animal Friday morning.
The family’s flight out of the southern Ohio airport had left early in the morning the day the toy was lost, Doug Ronco said.
“I think our son was half a sleep when he left Masch-Masch (the dog’s nickname) at the terminal,” Ronco said. “Under normal circumstances, he would never forget him.”
The family was traveling to visit relatives and friends in Ohio and Indiana with their three children, one of whom keeps the stuffed dog as his companion, Ronco said.
A judge gave Ronco's son, Jaydence, the stuffed Dalmatian on the day he was adopted by the couple. “So it’s very special to him,” he said.
Ronco said the airport contacted him by email to let the family know the dog was left behind. He thinks they were the only family with children on the flight, and acknowledged the story had taken on a life of its own on social media.
“The times we are in, some people sees the humor in something lighthearted, and others say, 'Is this all you can do, talk about this stupid stuffed animal?'" he said, laughing.
The family is bringing Oreo cookies to the airport to thank those who helped arrange the journey of their son’s special toy back home.
Rare leopard frog found beyond its known range in Southwest
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — A rare frog has been found beyond its known range in the Southwest.
A U.S. Forest Service volunteer recently photographed a Chiricahua leopard frog in an earthen stock tank near the town of Camp Verde in central Arizona, the agency said Thursday. Biologists later confirmed that at least 10 of the frogs were living there.
The aquatic frogs were thought to be only in eastern Arizona, western New Mexico and northern Mexico but historically were more widespread. The frogs' numbers have declined because of habitat loss, disease and predators.
Audrey Owns of the Arizona Game and Fish Department said the frogs could have moved into lower elevations in Camp Verde because they were seeking protected habitat or warmer temperatures that guard them from fungal disease.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the frogs as threatened in 2002. Part of the recovery efforts have included rearing the frogs in captivity and releasing them into stock tanks. A recovery team also has been supplementing water amid a prolonged drought, removing livestock, deepening stock tanks and controlling erosion.
“Large-scale and varied recovery efforts, such as those carried out in the Fossil Creek watershed, are vitally important since biologists do not know exactly which efforts will be successful, or how frogs will adapt to changes in natural conditions, such as disease and long-term drought,” said Janie Agyagos, a wildlife biologist for the Coconino National Forest’s Red Rock Ranger District.
Biologists plan to visit aquatic areas near Camp Verde to determine the extent of the frogs. The male frogs are distinctive for the sound they make during the breeding season, much like snoring.