PPI’s “Jurassic Park” in the outback

The very first thing you will notice when you arrive at Primarily Primates are the sounds coming from all the different primates. However, some sounds you will hear are completely unfamiliar, and practically prehistoric in nature. Almost everyone has the same reaction to the sounds: “They sound like dinosaurs.”

Those sounds are coming from Lola and Fred, our resident emus. Lola is pictured here!

Standing at nearly six feet tall, emus are the second largest bird on earth, next to the ostrich, and are quite intimidating, even though their caretaker, Ariana, describes Lola as “very calm and regal.”

In terms of food enrichment, Lola and Fred love to find grapes in a head of lettuce, and they love playing with a “jolly ball,” which resembles a soccer ball but for pets. Fred and Lola are also avid insect hunters — meticulously searching logs in their habitat for caterpillars, various bugs and beetles.

Emus can be found primarily in Australia, but to a lesser extent in Indonesia, the Solomon Islands, New Guinea and the Philippines.

Twenty years ago, emus were exploited all over the world for their feathers, meat and oil, as it became a fad to put “emu oil” in everything from soaps and personal care products to supplements. Emu farms popped up all over the world, and Texas was a hub in the U.S. because of its warm weather.

When the fad ended, many emu farmers – including those in Texas -- just turned emus loose, leaving them to try to survive on their own in a landscape that was inhospitable and unfamiliar. That is how Fred and Lola ended up being rescued by Primarily Primates.

To sponsor Fred and Lola, please visit our website.