Rhea on the run evades police capture

PUBLISHED: 12:02 12 January 2015 | UPDATED: 09:54 15 January 2015

For the second time in less than a year, a rhea like the one pictured is on the run in Hertfordshire.

For the second time in less than a year, a rhea like the one pictured is on the run in Hertfordshire.


A bird which can grow up to 6ft and is capable of speeds of 40mph is evading capture by police – with another also on the run.

Police managed to locate one of the fugitive rheas in Brent Pelham this weekend, but were unable to catch it.

The bird, an ostrich-like, flightless bird native to South America, was first spotted by a member of the public on Friday, January 9, at around 6.30pm.

On Sunday morning, East Hertfordshire rural police attended a further sighting of the bird, and tweeted: “PC Watson & PCSO Steve have located the Rhea, the problem is they can’t keep up with it.”

It is believed that two rheas escaped from a property in Essex in February and have now travelled into East Hertfordshire.

While police will become involved if the birds pose a danger to public safety – for example if they walk into a road – it is the responsibility of the owners to locate and capture the birds.

Police advise the public not to approach the birds, which may become scared and run into a road, or cause a danger to others.

The incident follows the famous case of Rita the rhea, who made it into the national press after escaping from a smallholding between Clavering and Brent Pelham in March last year.

After two months on the run, Rita met her end in May after being shot in an oil seed rape field by a deer manager, who said she would be made into gourmet sausages.

At the time, Hertfordshire police said Rita’s owner had “given permission for the bird to be dispatched if the situation deemed it necessary” because of the risk it posed to motorists.

East Hertfordshire rural police ask anyone who spots either of the rheas to call them via the non-emergency number 101.

To see footage of the rhea taken by officers, go to instagram.com/p/xuJUTbkUdO.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Saffron Walden Reporter. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Saffron Walden Reporter