Monday 23 October 2017

6ft bird found after police alert

The female partner of the rhea which went missing in Carlton-in-Lindrick near Worksop
The female partner of the rhea which went missing in Carlton-in-Lindrick near Worksop

A 6ft ostrich-like bird that went missing prompting a search by armed police has been found, its owner has said.

The aggressive male rhea disappeared from its home on a smallholding in Carlton-in-Lindrick, Notts, on Monday night or Tuesday morning.

Owner Alex Macdonald feared it might have been stolen but today said it had been spotted and captured just a few fields away from its home.

Mr Macdonald said members of his family had gone to wrestle the powerful bird into a vehicle and they were looking forward to having it home soon.

When it was reported missing on Tuesday, armed officers joined the search and warnings were issued to the public not to approach the rhea, which has sharp claws and can accelerate to speeds of 30mph.

News of the recapture of the bird came just hours after police in South Yorkshire said they were searching the Rotherham area following possible sightings.

The South Yorkshire Police spokesman said officers were searching the Rother Valley area following a sighting there and also in the Dinnington area.

Mr Macdonald yesterday said the powerful male was "aggressive" in part because it had fathered a cluster of eggs with its mate.

The female was pacing up and down its enclosure, apparently looking for its partner.

Mr Macdonald said yesterday: "She's all right. She doesn't really want to attack you when you come in but the male was aggressive, very protective because he was sat on the eggs.

"It's the male that does the sitting on the eggs with these - either that or ours is just odd because that is what he does.

"My dad's just put them in a bucket at the top of the garden hoping that he'll come back and will know to come to its eggs."

He said the animal was powerful and often needed four men to wrestle it to the ground when it needed moving.

Mr Macdonald added: "People take it lightly because they think it's just a little bird.

"But they don't understand, until you get into a field with one and wrestle one - they've got claws, they kick like mad.

"They're quite powerful and they can run quite fast - 30mph probably. That's quick."

Last year, another rhea - nicknamed Chris after the Road To Hell singer - went on the run in Hertfordshire.

The 6ft bird became a familiar face at Barkway Park Golf Club near Royston after it escaped from its enclosure nearby in April 2014, but police were worried it could cause a car crash.

After more than a month on the loose, the fugitive was shot dead by gamekeeper Stuart Howe, who turned the bird into gourmet sausages.

Nottinghamshire Police said officers were called to Hodsock Priory Farm in Worksop Road, Hodsock, at around 11am following a possible sighting.

A spokesman said that at around 1.55pm the bird was safely manoeuvred into a trailer to be transported back to Carlton-in-Lindrick.

Inspector Alan Easdon said: "It appears the bird has been attracted by the snowdrops at Hodsock. Thankfully, it seems to be no worse off for its adventures.

"We would like to thank the public for their help and support in rallying round to help us locate the bird and reunite it safely with its owner."

He said he would also like to thank South Yorkshire Police for its help during the search.

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