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Emmanuel the Emu is Fighting to Recover From Avian Flu

You can do it, Emmanuel.

Emmanuel the Emu goes viral

Emmanuel Todd Lopez, resident emu at Knuckle Bump Farms and transgressive internet superstar, is recovering from Avian Influenza, which has left him with nerve damage in one of his legs. Farmer Taylor Blake is asking Emmanuel’s followers for prayers and good wishes as Emmanuel does a daily regimen of physical therapy.

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Emmanuel first went viral in July 2022, when he began interrupting Blake’s educational videos by pecking at the camera. “Emmanuel, don’t do it!” quickly became Knuckle Bump Farm’s catch phrase, as Emmanuel showed his love for knocking the camera over in video after video.

Pet owners and animal handlers around the world immediately related to Blake’s exasperation, and Emmanuel became the mascot of every curious animal who’s ever gotten up to trouble. The videos grew into Knuckle Bump’s “Animals Against Education” series, in which Emmanuel and other animals around the farm sabotage Blake’s attempts to educate the public.

The series even got the attention of celebrities like Patton Oswalt and Lynda Carter, who quickly became Emmanuel stans.

Disaster strikes Knucklebump Farm

On October 15, Blake shared on Twitter that a flock of wild geese had begun roosting at Knuckle Bump Farms at night, spreading Avian Influenza to the birds on the farm. Blake wrote that the farm lost over fifty birds, including both of their black swans and all of their chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese. Although Emmanuel also contracted AI, Blake and the farm’s veterinarian were able to save him with several days of round-the-clock treatment.

However, after his recovery, Emmanuel was left with nerve damage in one of his legs and a condition called wry neck, which is where the neck muscles twist and contort the neck. While Emmanuel slowly regained the strength to eat and drink on his own, Blake and her girlfriend made a sling out of a blanket to begin rehabilitating his leg.

Blake has shared that she’s not asking for donations at this time—instead, she’s asking for prayers and happy thoughts of Emmanuel.

You can follow Emmanuel’s progress on Blake’s Twitter feed, @hiitaylorblake. Although Blake has been honest about the psychological toll the whole ordeal has taken on her, she also tweeted that she “wholeheartedly believes [Emmanuel] is going to make a full recovery.”

We love you, Emmanuel! Here’s to the day when you can go back to knocking down cameras and showing off your fabulous self.

(featured image: Knuckle Bump Farms)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href=""></a>

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