Have you seen Vance the emu?

WEST MILFORD. This local bird went missing on the morning of June 21 and its owners are eager for a reunion.

| 22 Jun 2022 | 12:53

Sandy Roberto Cordasco started Tuesday morning with a shocking surprise. One of her emus was missing from its pen!

“I can’t even believe it,” Cordasco said. “I went to go feed them, and there was only one in the pen, in a six-foot-high enclosure with six-foot high fencing around that! I don’t know how he got out.”

Cordasco explained that Vance rooms with another, larger emu named Fridge, whom Vance is bonded to, meaning they enjoy spending time together. She also has two other smaller ones in a roofed enclosure.

Cordasco said she’s asked neighbors, posted pictures of Vance on social media and “lost pet” message boards, and even called the West Milford Police Department. Cordasco noted how strange the call to police was. She told them, half-jokingly, that if anyone reported seeing a dinosaur or pterodactyl, it might be Vance.

When the Messenger contacted West Milford PD, a representative said they had heard of the missing emu, but had no additional information on its whereabouts.

“It’s just the strangest thing to me, Cordasco added, remarking on Vance’s disappearance. She wondered at first if an animal had gotten into the pen and scared Vance enough to cause him to flee by any means possible, but then she noted that Fridge was calm when she made the initial discovery. “If something was in there, he’d be weirded out.”

She said that she didn’t think a predator got him, but that he most likely fled somewhere far enough, and fast enough, to not have been spotted locally. “I’m really shocked that no one’s seen him.”

Cordasco and Vance’s residence is on Morsetown Road in West Milford, roughly half a mile from the Greenwood Lake Airport runway in one direction, and about a mile from Pinecliff Lake in the other direction.

Meanwhile, on social media, community members sprung to action, sharing posts, giving their own guesses into where Vance might be – perhaps New York, or Pennsylvania, or up in the mountains somewhere. Some commenters suspected thievery, though the mechanics of stealing a single emu from two enclosed pens soon quashed that theory. There were also pleas to hunters to check their trail cams and residents to review their own security footage, but so far, no real leads have surfaced.

Vance the emu is about three years old, with grayish-brownish feathers and no other distinguishing markings. Emus cannot fly, but they have been known to run up to 30 miles per hour. They range from 5.2 to 6.2 feet in height and have three forward-facing toes that can grip the ground and propel them forward. Emus are also omnivores, eating fruits, seeds, plants, insects, and even small animals.

Cordasco noted that while Vance most likely will not attack anyone, he can hurt someone with his strong nails and legs.

She asks that if anyone sees him, to contact her immediately at 973-557-3119. Do not chase or attempt to capture Vance, but keep an eye on him, and Cordasco will come to pick him up.