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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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