Bird Experts Tell TikTok Star to Euthanize Emu After She Posts Picture Kissing It

In a drama that captivated many on social media, a TikTok star who drew condemnation after sharing a photo of her kissing an emu said that the bird will survive.

“I’ve dedicated the past 10 days to saving my best friend’s life, and it’s working. He’s fighting. He’s getting stronger. I could’ve listened to the negative comments and given up, but I didn’t, and I’m proud of myself. I trusted myself. I trusted God,” Taylor Blake posted to Twitter on Saturday, days after she was urged to euthanize Emmanuel the emu.

Blake owns Knuckle Bump Farms in Florida. She and Emmanuel have become social media sensations.

On Oct 15, Blake revealed on Twitter that avian influenza had torn through her flock of emus. She said at one point that she lost more than 50 birds.

As noted on the website GreenMatters, Blake blamed a flock of 50 wild geese that began arriving daily at her farm for introducing the avian flu virus.

Scolding began when Blake posted images and a video of her kissing Emmanuel and snuggling the sick bird.

Experts have warned of the potential danger of a virus jumping from one species to another, according to NPR.

“Because humans have no prior immunity to these viruses typically, if they were to be infected and spread the virus to other humans, then we could have another pandemic virus on our hands,” Todd Davis, an expert on animal-to-human diseases at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said.

Insider noted that Blake was told she should not be snuggling and smooching a bird that needed to be euthanized.

“Being face to face with a bird w avian flu is a bad idea — this is how zoonotic transmissions occur, this is why entire farms cull sick birds. We live with the threat of pandemic flu,” Dr. Boghuma Kabisen Titanji, a global health and infectious disease researcher at Emory University in Atlanta, tweeted.

Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist and research scientist at Canada’s Vaccine and Infection Disease Organization also objected to the cuddling.

“If your emu (or any bird) has avian influenza, do not kiss it. Do not cuddle with it. Do not touch it. Bird flu is extremely dangerous to humans and other animals. And it sounds harsh but to prevent it’s spread, birds that get avian flu should be euthanized,” she tweeted.

Rasmussen also tweeted her reaction to seeing a photo of Blake and Emmanuel: “I screamed when I saw this.”

In a series of tweets Saturday, Blake said she steered her own course and said Emmanuel does not have avian influenza as feared.

“Emmanuel Todd Lopez tested negative for Avian Influenza at 2 separate labs, swab, fecal and blood. He does not have the virus, and is not actively shedding the virus. God is good! Thank you for the prayers, the kind words, and the support. Always trust your intuition!” she said in one tweet.

“We believe this all stemmed from stress. Emus are highly susceptible to stress. He was incredibly overwhelmed by the state coming in and euthanizing our flock. (Although it was necessary, it was still very stressful on him) He stopped eating the day they depopulated,” she wrote.

She wrote that she did not believe she would lose the emu.

“Something in my gut just told me that this wasn’t the end for him. So I kept fighting for him, and I don’t regret it,” she posted.

“He never once had a single symptom of AI, other than not eating, which is often caused by stress in emus. It was just very coincidental timing,” Blake continued.

“We tested for everything under the sun, and he tested negative for absolutely everything. EEE, West Nile, Chlamydia, Salmonella, etc. We truly believe all of this stemmed from stress.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.