In central Outback Queensland, Australia is the tiny township of Yaraka. Surrounded by mesa stacks and tall mountains, and boasting unspoilt views of the surrounding area, the rustic settlement has a population of less than 20 people. Despite being a sleepy town, two residents – Kevin and Carol, a pair of mischievous emus – have been causing quite a stir with their behaviour. So much so that the local hotel has banned them for “antisocial behavior”.

The emus enjoy a certain level of local fame, and have been known to pose for photographs with travelers (especially if they believe that there is some food on offer). This has led to them becoming braver and braver, and venturing into Yaraka Hotel in search for some more offerings. “The back of our hotel is on level ground and does not have steps, so some time back they started walking in a little too often while the staff were in the kitchen. One kept walking behind the bar. We had to put up barricades and as long as the gates were shut, we were safe from intrusion and we were free from the other problem, their toileting habits,” Chris Gimblett, Co-Owner of the hotel told Lonely Planet.

Yaraka Emu
The hotel built an emu barrier to address the issue © Yaraka Hotel

According to Chris, Kevin and Carol usually venture to a nearby caravan park in the morning to look for (or steal) breakfast scraps, and have become adept at stretching their heads in through vehicle doors and plucking toast out of toasters. “Once breakfasts are over in the park they come to the hotel where they stand at the bottom of the steps waiting in hope for more food – they love Anzac biscuits, which are available in the dining room for tourist nibbles and are a very useful to get Kevin and Carol to stand next to the person with the ‘bait’ so that photos can be taken.”

However, just over a week ago Kevin and Carol taught themselves how to walk up the front steps of the hotel and onto the veranda where there are two entrances, one to the bar area and the other into a dining room.

Yaraka Hotel emu sign.jpeg
The banning has garnered attention all over the world © Yaraka Hotel

“It was decided that they would be banned from the hotel, and based on previous bad behavior we were extremely confident that this would happen again,” Chris said. The move to “officially ban” the emus proved amusing to people all over the world, with the hotel being inundated with media requests. Chris admits the banning is all a bit tongue in cheek, and is happy that the novelty of the news story has interested people. “Without Coronavirus the story would never have happened. The emus and the barring from the hotel was the bit of light relief that the world required.”

Yaraka Hotel
The emus have been known for stealing toast out of toasters at a nearby caravan park © Yaraka Hotel

More information on the town of Yaraka is available at the official website.

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