Thursday 29 September 2016

Runaway rhea captured but on-the-loose partner still ruffling feathers

Published 30/08/2016 | 13:16

A rhea that has been on the loose for a month in a field near to Wilsontown, Forth, before it was captured by the Scottish SPCA (PA/Scottish SPCA)
A rhea that has been on the loose for a month in a field near to Wilsontown, Forth, before it was captured by the Scottish SPCA (PA/Scottish SPCA)

A rhea on the loose for a month has been captured by animal welfare officers but its companion is still on the run.

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The stray bird is one of two which escaped from a smallholding in Wilsontown, Forth, South Lanarkshire in July.

The bird was spotted in a nearby field and Scottish SPCA officers, helped by a local farmer and members of the public, managed to usher the rhea into a trailer using gates.

He has now been moved to the Auchingarrich Wildlife Park in Comrie, Perthshire, after being rescued on August 24.

Inspector Heather Lawson said: "The story of the stray rhea, first thought to be an ostrich, has caused a bit of a stir, with people regularly reporting sightings of it.

"I wasn't sure how we would be able to catch it given the vast area of woodland it was on. However, with a stroke of luck a local farmer spotted the rhea in a field just off Tashieburn Road.

"With the help of fellow officers, members of the public and the local farmers, we were able to keep the rhea confined long enough to construct a holding pen before being able to load him safely into a trailer.

"The process was relatively straightforward and stress-free, and the rhea seems none the worse for its adventure.

"We're really pleased we have been able to catch him and that he will be able to spend his life at the wildlife park in the company of other rheas."

The bird's companion is still on the loose in the same area and a third escaped rhea is on the run in the village of Patna, East Ayrshire, which the public have been warned not to approach.

Scottish SPCA officers urge anyone with information on either bird to call their animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

Press Association

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