Who let the emus out?

Emus remain on the loose as Lend Lease and National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) squabble over who’s responsible for their capture and return to the former ADI site.

The Star has been inundated with calls in the last fortnight about emu sightings in Werrington and St Marys.

Lend Lease manages the ADI site west of Ropes Crossing while NPWS look after the eastern part.

The NPWS boundary include Forrester Road and Palmyra Avenue, where gaping fence holes allow kangaroos and emus to escape.

A Lend Lease spokesman said its Maryland Development Company (MDC) entity and NPWS have agreed to place captured emus within the site, regardless of where they came from.

But when alerted about the latest emu sighting on Dunheved and Forrester Roads at North St Marys on Friday, the spokesman said emus were outside the site so NPWS was responsible.

A NPWS spokesman said it would assist in the capture of emus but it was Lend Lease’s responsibility.

He said NPWS managed ‘‘a relatively small triangle’’ in the eastern corner of the site and said monitoring fences for holes was an ongoing issue. 

‘‘NPWS doesn’t believe holes in the fence Palmyra Avenue and Forrester Roads are where the emus are escaping as this is not where they have been found,’’ the NPWS spokesman said. 

The Lend Lease spokesman said it conducts daily fence patrols and repairs to ensure wildlife don’t escape.

Cambridge Park resident David saw emus wandering along the side of the road on Friday and had grave concerns for their welfare.

‘‘I’m a ratepayer and we’re the ones footing the bill for these animals,’’ he said.

‘‘They were seen close to Lend Lease land so they should be taking proper care of the animals of the site. Not only do the emus cause accidents but are a danger to themselves.’’

Western Sydney Conservation Alliance (WSCA) president Geoff Brown urged Penrith Council to contact Lend Lease in the ‘‘strongest possible language’’ to pay for the return of animals to the site.

‘They (Lend Lease) have an obligation under the St Marys Development Agreement 2002 to care for the emus and maintain fencing so they don’t escape,’’ Mr Brown said.

A council spokesman said it will forward any concerns onto the relevant body.

Mr Brown urged lend lease take responsibility for wildlife that escapes from the site.

‘‘It may give a warm and fuzzy feeling to see these animals are wandering around but it isn’t their natural habitat,’’ Mr Brown said.

‘‘Their lives are under threat from traffic, other animals and also to themselves. The best place for them is their natural environment. If Taronga Zoo lost one of its animals, it would take responsibility and put all of its resources into capturing it and not leave it up to the local council.''

Who should be responsible for returning emus to the site? Comment at stmarysstar.com.au or join the conversation on the St Marys-Mount Druitt Star Facebook page.

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