Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 13:26 UK

'Spooked' rhea escapes from farm

Rhea at Harepathstead Farm
The two-year-old "runaway" is used as a stud at the poultry farm

An injured rhea who was captured by police after it escaped from a farm in Devon is recovering from its ordeal, according to its owner.

Concerned members of the public phoned police at about 0700 BST to report an "emu" on the loose in Whimple, Exeter.

Local vets were called in after the injured and distressed bird was cornered by officers.

Poultry farm owner Paul Thompson said the rhea appears to have jumped a 4ft (1.2m) fence after a scare.

The adult stud was found nearly four miles (6.4km) from Harepathstead Farm in Westwood.

He's back in the field with his females having a well-earned rest
Paul Thomspson, Harepathstead Farm

"We think he was spooked or panicked by something and jumped over the boundary fence, through a hedge and just kept on running," Mr Thompson told BBC News.

"He's lost a couple of toe nails - one on each foot - and scraped his legs, but fortunately the injuries are minor and have been treated.

"Now he's back in the field with his females having a well-earned rest.

Mr Thompson said it was the first time any of his rheas, which cannot fly, have escaped.

"They're not renowned for jumping, but I'll have to think about reinforcing the perimeter fence.

"We're just absolutely delighted to have him back because he's a real character."



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'Spooked' rhea escapes from farm
28 May 09 |  Devon

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