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FIRST ON 3: Giant bird dies during round-up

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A sad ending to a story you saw Thursday afternoon. The large, emu-like bird who escaped from his pen yesterday has died.

After being chased for nearly 24 hours, neighbors decided to let the bird rest and try again later, but someone called New Hanover County Animal Service officers to the scene.

Officers say it was very difficult to catch the bird alive because they have little experience chasing exotic animals. The struggle ended in tragedy.

"Well we were kind of surprised, but we did respond," said New Hanover County Animal Services supervisor Judy Evonko. "We were trying to help the owner corral the big bird back into the corral, but unfortunately after a couple of hours of trying to corral it back in, the stress of the situation the bird did die."

Even though the bird is gone, he is still being used for the greater good. The bird's caretaker says his body has been donated to UNCW's biology department.

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The Big Bird File

Just wondering,,,,Why did they not dart and sedate the bird? To be sure with all of the bear, dear and other wildlife around here, there is not a tranquilizer gun anywhere?

Also, if the bird had escaped before then apparently the owner had not insured the confines for the bird, so ultimately, it is on the owner.

She is a Peacock

Judy the animal control lady's maiden name is Peacock for heavens sake! She loves big birds. Cut them some slack yo!

No win situation

I know that a lot of people are going to fault animal control for the bird's death. But once they were called, they had to respond the best way they knew how. If that bird had darted into traffic and caused a wreck, people would be up in arms about "why didn't they do something?" The bird was already on the loose for 24 hrs, plenty of time for the owner to try all the tricks he knew to corral the bird. It was time something was done and it just happened to have a poor outcome. Give these people a break!