More than a week after Taylor Blake shared that her pet emu named Emmanuel contracted bird flu, she announced that the bird has tested negative.
Emmanuel the emu became a TikTok sensation after Blake started posting video of him constantly interrupting her videos while at her Knuckle Bump Farms. On Oct. 22, Blake updated her followers to share that he tested negative for the bird flu.
"Emmanuel Todd Lopez tested negative for Avian Influenza at 2 separate labs, swab, fecal and blood. He does not have the virus, and is not actively shedding the virus God is good!" Blake tweeted. "Thank you for the prayers, the kind words, and the support. Always trust your intuition!"
In a follow-up tweet, Blake suggested that Emmanuel's illness stemmed from stress.
"Emus are highly susceptible to stress. He was incredibly overwhelmed by the state coming in and euthanizing our flock," she wrote. "(Although it was necessary, it was still very stressful on him) He stopped eating the day they depopulated."
Blake went on to detail her experience with Emmanuel, sharing that he was not properly eating and drinking. Blake wrote that she “kept fighting for him” and that he “never once had a single symptom of AI, other than not eating.”
“I’ve dedicated the past 10 days to saving my best friend’s life, and it’s working. He’s fighting. He’s getting stronger. I could’ve listened to the negative comments and given up, but I didn’t, and I’m proud of myself. I trusted myself. I trusted God,” Blake tweeted, also thanking everyone for their support.
On Oct. 24, Blake wrote a tweet as if it were Emmanuel speaking.
“I’m getting stronger each day, friends! I am now able to lift myself up and reposition myself on my own,” the tweet read. “This is a BIG step, because before, I would just fall over. My neck is starting to straighten out and I am drinking lots of water on my own! Thank you for the prayers.”
When the caretaker first reported the illness, she said that almost every single bird on the South Florida property — over 50 birds, including swans, turkeys, geese and other emus — had died.
At the time, she said she believed the illness was caused by wild Egyptian Geese, who flew into the farm multiple times. Other emus — Emily, Eliza and Elliot, who also made appearances in her viral videos — had died.
As she has been trying to save Emmanuel, she's documented his health journey and his recovery on social media. In the days leading to his now negative bird flu test, Blake shared video of her beloved emu attempting to stand on his own.
Blake had previously tweeted the Irwin family to try and get their help with her situation. Bindi Irwin replied, tweeting in a statement 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, also writing how they appreciate how she cared for her pets with "such compassion."