The Australian Emu War

The Great Emu War occurred in Western Australia, when the military took on the flightless birds. An uncontrolled emu population had started to encroach on farmlands, damaging crops and creating economic problems for the farmers. In response, the farmers called on the military for assistance. The Australian government actually deployed soldiers armed with machine guns to combat the emus. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that deadly weapons would have the advantage over flightless birds, but it turned out that it was the emus who had the upper hand. Emus don’t want to fight, so when they hear gunfire, their first reaction is to run — and run they did. At speeds reaching 30mph, the emus took off, leaving the military no option but to concede defeat. The Great Emu War became the symbol of human struggles against the forces of nature and the limitations of technology in dealing with wildlife. Eventually, the government turned to other measures, erecting fences to protect farmlands from emu intrusion. It was no doubt a humbling experience for the military.