An emu that was found wandering loose near a highway in Foothills County has a new home.

On the morning of June 19, several Foothills commuters stopped at the sight of an emu out for a stroll along the 22X.

Several passersby pulled over to notify the Alberta SPCA before herding the bird away from traffic, and eventually into the back of a trailer before it was transported to safety by the RCMP.

After taking the emu into their care, the SPCA got in touch with Cobb's Exotic Animal Rescue in Calgary.

An offshoot of Cobb's Adventure Park, Cobb's Exotic Animal Rescue was founded after the adventure park started to acquire more and more rescue animals including kangaroos, wallabies, sloths, a variety of reptiles, and emus.

Initially, the SPCA reached out to Cobb’s for a veterinarian recommendation, and after the emu was evaluated, they got in touch with Cobb’s again to see if they could house the bird for a few days while they tried to track down the owner of the Emu.

After a while, the emu's stay at Cobb's started to look a lot longer than anticipated.

“About a week went by without anyone coming forward, and so the SPCA contacted us again and essentially gifted us the emu because no previous owner had come forward,” explains Rianna Smyth, the animal manager with Cobb's Exotic Animal Rescue.

The emu, now named Keith, was in relatively good condition aside from a limp.

So far, he’s been kept in a separate pen from the eight other emus living at Cobb’s, though he’s been able to socialize with them a little bit through the fence that separates him from them.

Once he’s walking as normal, he’ll be fully introduced to the others.

“He did get seen by a vet and she didn’t believe it to be broken or anything. She thinks it was just inflamed, he probably just snagged it, from my understanding. We’ve had him on a minor painkiller and anti-inflammatory and it’s been getting better in the past week or so. With rest, it should clear up,” says Smyth.

While Keith’s life leading up to his adventure near the road is a mystery, Smyth believes he’s already familiar with others of his kind.

“That would be my bet. Obviously, I don’t know one hundred per cent, but even how he reacts to being beside all of ours, he’s not nervous or scared and never was. He sits on the side of the fence with our emus.”

Lonnie Moberly, one of the people who stopped to help Keith when he was on the loose, said she was surprised at how calm he was during the whole process, but Smyth says emus are generally more placid than most people expect.

“A lot of our emus are very calm and docile as well, they’re very curious, smart animals… I do think they have a bad rap.”

More information on Cobb's and its exotic residents can be seen on the Cobb's Exotic Animal Rescue website.