Emmanuel Todd Lopez the emu is not only TikTok famous in the United States — he’s reached the heart of Australia.
After a highly contagious strain of avian influenza hit more than 32 counties in Florida in the beginning of January 2022, Emmanuel, 7, was eventually stricken with the illness, along with almost every other bird on his Internet-famous farm.
His owner, Taylor Blake, who has helped Emmanuel reach viral fame on TikTok through the @knucklebumpfarms account, has been sharing the animal’s story. On Monday, she reached out to Australian conservationist Bindi Irwin for help.
Blake wrote a heartfelt post on Twitter, tagging Bindi, 24, along with her mother, Terri Irwin, and brother, Robert Irwin.
“I have been a fan of your family for as long as I can remember, I am reaching out to you in total desperation right now”, she wrote to the family, emphasizing, “I need help saving my emu, Emmanuel.” Blake expressed to the famous family that she would pay to fly anyone from the Australia Zoo out to Florida if they could be of assistance and that Emmanuel “needs someone experienced in physical therapy,” but was open to other methods of treatment.
She completed the post writing, “PLEASE HELP.”
After a few hours, Bindi responded to her plea.
Bindi expressed that the entire Irwin family was “sending love and light” to Blake and Emmanuel, but that the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital “has never treated an Emu with this particular disease.”
“We will need to rely on our fellow animal experts with more experience with this avian flu,” she added, praising Blake for caring “so deeply” for Emmanuel.
She included in her message: “We believe that all of us need to have love for each and every individual animal,” and expressed her desire for someone “who has greater experience in this area” to be of assistance.
Blake later gave an update on Emmanuel’s health, sharing that after a visit from a veterinarian, the animal was “stable, receiving fluids and still being hand fed. That being said, seeing how impressed and optimistic our vet was, was exactly what I needed. It’s brought me a sense of peace I haven’t had since all of this started. One day at a time, Emmanuel WILL be healed.”
Emmanuel made one of his first appearances on the farm’s TikTok in an outtake video Blake posted, in which the bird interrupts the clip to stare at the screen.
By attacking Blake’s phone on camera, Emmanuel has won the attention and hearts of the entire Internet, helping the farm’s TikTok account amass more than 2.4 million followers.