One of the world’s oldest emus has just turned 40 - twice as old as its expected life span. The birthday boy in question, Ollie, marked the big milestone on Monday (March 20) at his home in Blackpool Zoo.
Originally born in Leeds in 1983, Ollie left the West Yorkshire city for the seaside of Blackpool at the age of one. The 5ft 7ins bird currently lives at the Lancs zoo with his partner Maggie and a group of fellow Australian kangaroos.
Emus typically live for 10 to 20 years in the wild, and for up to 25 years in captivity, although a few exceptions have been recorded in the past. The oldest emu on record turned 58 in 2020 and lived on a family farm in Valencia Creek in Victoria, Australia.
Throughout his 40 years, Ollie has fathered many emu chicks, and his favourite meals include carrots and cabbage. He also fancies an apple as a treat every now and then.
Emma Swindells, one of the senior keepers at Blackpool Zoo said: "It is wonderful to be celebrating 40 years of Ollie. He’s a very gentle bird who keeps himself to himself, unlike his partner Maggie who loves to come over to keepers for a good scratch and to see what we are doing.
"This is a huge milestone birthday and Ollie is in great health. He’s one of the oldest emus in the world and will be getting lots of treats to mark the occasion."